Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999

Illinois Friends:

Last night the Senate passed the Wireless Communications and
Public Safety Act of 1999 (S 800). Majority Leader Lott took
up the bill right before the Senate broke for its August recess and it
went through quickly without objections or amendments (there were some
amendments in the report that the committee staff filed on Wednesday but
these clarified the action taken at markup in June).

ComCARE appreciates all of the hard work that its members put in over the
last couple of weeks to move the bill forward. Your contacts to the
Senate offices, alerts and letters demonstrated the broad based support
for the bill. Thank you!

An a separate note, Congress also adopted an amendment proposed by
Senator Daschle to the DC Appropriations bill that directed the
application for wireless facilities in Rock Creek Park in Washington to
be granted 7 days after the bill’s enactment. The amendment also directs
all federal agencies to process applications for the siting of wireless
antennas within 120 days. It reaffirms that this action does not change
any provisions of the Telecom Act. This is similar to the language that
ComCARE supported in last year’s E9-1-1 bill, and it will help expedite
the process for building seamless networks. Bell Atlantic Mobile relayed
its appreciatiion of all of ComCARE’s efforts yesterday. This bill will
also be sent to Clinton for his approval.

I have attached a copy of the press release we sent out this morning (and
included it in the text below).

Again, thank you for all of your support!


August 6, 1999 Deirdre Walsh

(202)429-0574; fax (202)296-2962

Email: [email protected]

Senate Passes Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act:

ComCARE Alliance Urges President to Sign Lifesaving Bill

Washington, D.C. — The ComCARE Alliance, a coalition of emergency
medical professionals, public safety, citizen and industry
representatives hailed last night’s unanimous Senate vote passing the
Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (S 800). The House
of Representatives passed a similar bill, HR 438, (415-2) in February.

“Thousands of lives could be saved each year by making 9-1-1 work like it
should, which is what this bill will help do,” said Sue Hoyt, Chair of
the ComCARE Alliance and past president of the Emergency Nurses
Association. Hoyt added, “We commend Subcommittee Chairman Burns and
Chairman McCain for their leadership. Their work, along with the
bipartisan group of co-sponsors demonstrates the broad based support for
upgrading our nation’s wireless emergency communications system. We urge
President Clinton to sign this legislation as soon as it reaches his

S 800 makes “9-1-1” the universal number for all emergency calls. It
removes an obstacle to the deployment of wireless location information by
providing wireless users, operators and carriers with liability parity to
relevant wireline state laws (standard determined on state by state
basis). The legislation also directs the Federal Communications
Commission to play an active role in supporting states to develop plans
to upgrade their wireless emergency communications systems.

Jim Brady, Chairman of the Brain Injury Association and a member of the
ComCARE Alliance, said, “This bill directly addresses an issue that is
critical for persons sustaining traumatic brain injury — reducing
response time. I applaud the Senate for taking up this bill and passing
it so swiftly and decisively. Improving the wireless emergency network
will have a positive impact on the lives of every American.”

The ComCARE Alliance is a broad based, national coalition formed to
support and promote the nationwide development of end-to-end
communications systems to enhance public safety. ComCARE
(“Communications for Coordinated Assistance and Response to Emergencies”)
is working with public and private sector leaders to “connect the dots”
between the many currently available life-saving technologies and the
people who need them. For more information and a list of ComCARE’s
members, please visit www.comcare.org.

Steve Seitz