Bill Text: MS SB2795 | 2016 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Wireless E911 service charges; revise the administration and disbursement of.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 4-0)

Status: (Failed) 2016-02-23 - Died In Committee [SB2795 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2016-SB2795-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2016 Regular Session

To: Energy; Finance

By: Senator(s) Blackwell, Younger, Massey, Parker

Senate Bill 2795

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 19-5-333 AND 19-5-343, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE ADMINISTRATION AND DISBURSEMENT OF POSTPAID AND PREPAID WIRELESS E911 SERVICE CHARGES; TO BRING FORWARD SECTION 19-5-335, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, FOR POSSIBLE AMENDMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  Section 19-5-333, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     19-5-333.  (1)  There is created a Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) Board, consisting of eight (8) members to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The members of the board shall be appointed as follows:

          (a)  One (1) member from the Northern Public Service Commission District selected from two (2) nominees submitted to the Governor by the Mississippi 911 Coordinators Association;

          (b)  One (1) member from the Central Public Service Commission District selected from two (2) nominees submitted to the Governor by the Mississippi Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communication Officers;

          (c)  One (1) member from the Southern Public Service Commission District selected from two (2) nominees submitted to the Governor by the National Emergency Numbering Association;

          (d)  Two (2) members who are wireless provider representatives;

          (e)  One (1) member who is a consumer representing the state at large with no affiliation to the three (3) trade associations or the wireless providers;

          (f)  One (1) member who is a member of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Association selected from two (2) nominees submitted to the Governor by the association; and

          (g)  One (1) member who is a member of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors selected from two (2) nominees submitted to the Governor by the association.

     The initial terms of the board members, as appointed after July 1, 2002, shall be staggered as follows:  the members appointed under paragraph (d) shall serve a term of two (2) years; the member appointed under paragraph (e) shall serve a term of one (1) year.  After the expiration of the initial terms, the term for all members shall be four (4) years.

     (2)  The board shall have the following powers and duties:

          (a)  To collect and distribute a CMRS emergency telephone service charge on each CMRS customer whose place of primary use is within the state.  The rate of such CMRS service charge shall be One Dollar ($1.00) per month per CMRS connection.  In the case of prepaid wireless service, the rate and methodology for collecting and remitting the 911 charge is governed by Section 19-5-343.  The CMRS service charge shall have uniform application and shall be imposed throughout the state.  The board is authorized to receive all revenues derived from the CMRS service charge levied on CMRS connections in the state and collected pursuant to Section 19-5-335.

          (b)  To establish and maintain the CMRS Fund as an insured, interest-bearing account into which the board shall deposit all revenues derived from the CMRS service charge levied on CMRS connections in the state and collected pursuant to Section 19-5-335.  The revenues which are deposited into the CMRS Fund shall not be monies or property of the state and shall not be subject to appropriation by the Legislature.  Interest derived from the CMRS Fund shall be divided equally to pay reasonable costs incurred by providers in compliance with the requirements of Sections 19-5-331 through 19-5-341 and to compensate those persons, parties or firms employed by the CMRS Board as contemplated in paragraph (d) of this subsection.  The interest income is not subject to the two percent (2%) cap on administrative spending established in Section 19-5-335(3).

          (c)  To establish a distribution formula by which the board will make disbursements of the CMRS service charge in the following amounts and in the following manner:

              (i) * * *Out of the funds collected by the board, thirty percent (30%) Six percent (6%) of the total CMRS service charges collected by the provider shall be deposited into the CMRS Fund, and shall be used to defray the administrative expenses of the board in accordance with Section 19-5-335(3) and to pay the actual costs incurred by such CMRS providers in complying with the wireless E911 service requirements established by the FCC Order and any rules and regulations which are or may be adopted by the FCC pursuant to the FCC Order, including, but not limited to, costs and expenses incurred for designing, upgrading, purchasing, leasing, programming, installing, testing or maintaining all necessary data, hardware and software required in order to provide such service as well as the incremental costs of operating such service.  Sworn invoices must be presented to the board in connection with any request for payment and approved by a majority vote of the board prior to any such disbursement, which approval shall not be withheld or delayed unreasonably.  In no event shall any invoice for payment be approved for the payment of costs that are not related to compliance with the wireless E911 service requirements established by the FCC Order and any rules and regulations which are or may be adopted by the FCC pursuant to the FCC Order, and any rules and regulations which may be adopted by the FCC with respect to implementation of wireless E911 services.

              (ii)  The remainder of all funds * * * collected by the board, which shall not be less than * * * seventy percent (70%) ninety-three percent (93%) of the total * * *funds collected by the board CMRS service charges collected by the provider, shall be distributed by the board monthly based on the number of CMRS connections in each ECD for use in providing wireless E911 service, including capital improvements, and in their normal operations.  For purposes of distributing the funds to each ECD, every CMRS provider shall identify to the CMRS Board the ECD to which funds should be remitted based on zip code plus four (4) designation, as required by the federal Uniform Sourcing Act.

     An ECD board that has within its jurisdiction zip code designations that do not adhere to county lines shall assist CMRS providers in determining the appropriate county to which funds should be distributed.

          (d)  To contract for the services of accountants, attorneys, consultants, engineers and any other persons, firms or parties the board deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of Sections 19-5-331 through 19-5-341.

          (e)  To obtain from an independent, third-party auditor retained by the board annual reports to the board no later than sixty (60) days after the close of each fiscal year, which shall provide an accounting for all CMRS service charges deposited into the CMRS Fund during the preceding fiscal year and all disbursements to ECDs during the preceding fiscal year.  The board shall provide a copy of the annual reports to the Chairmen of the Public Utilities Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate.

          (f)  To retain an independent, third-party accountant who shall audit CMRS providers at the discretion of the CMRS Board to verify the accuracy of each CMRS providers' service charge collection.  The information obtained by the audits shall be used solely for the purpose of verifying that CMRS providers accurately are collecting and remitting the CMRS service charge and may be used for any legal action initiated by the board against CMRS providers.

          (g)  To levy interest charges at the legal rate of interest established in Section 75-17-1 on any amount due and outstanding from any CMRS provider who fails to remit service charges in accordance with Section 19-5-335(1).

          (h)  To promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to effect the provisions of Sections 19-5-331 through 19-5-341.

          (i)  To make the determinations and disbursements as provided by Section 19-5-333(2)(c).

          (j)  To maintain a registration database of all CMRS providers and to impose an administrative fine on any provider that fails to comply with the registration requirements in Section 19-5-335.

     (3)  The CMRS service charge provided in subsection (2)(a) of this section and the service charge provided in Section 19-5-357 to fund the training of public safety telecommunicators shall be the only charges assessed to CMRS customers relating to emergency telephone services.

     (4)  The board shall serve without compensation; however, members of the board shall be entitled to be reimbursed for actual expenses and travel costs associated with their service in an amount not to exceed the reimbursement authorized for state officers and employees in Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972.

     (5)  It is the Legislature's intent to ensure that the State of Mississippi shall be Phase I compliant by July 1, 2005.  For purposes of this subsection, Phase I compliant means the mandate by the FCC that requires any carrier when responding to a PSAP to define and deliver data related to the cell site location and the caller's call-back number.

     SECTION 2.  Section 19-5-343, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     19-5-343.  (1)  Definitions.  For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

          (a)  "Consumer" means a person who purchases prepaid wireless telecommunications service in a retail transaction.

          (b)  "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

          (c)  "Prepaid wireless E911 charge" means the charge that is required to be collected by a seller from a consumer in the amount established under subsection (2).

          (d)  "Prepaid wireless telecommunications service" means a wireless telecommunications service that allows a caller to dial 911 to access the 911 system, which service must be paid for in advance and is sold in predetermined units or dollars of which the number declines with use in a known amount.

          (e)  "Provider" means a person who provides prepaid wireless telecommunications service pursuant to a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

          (f)  "Retail transaction" means the purchase of prepaid wireless telecommunications service from a seller for any purpose other than resale.

          (g)  "Seller" means a person who sells prepaid wireless telecommunications service to another person.

          (h)  "Wireless telecommunications service" means commercial mobile radio service as defined by Section 20.3 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as amended.

     (2)  Collection and remittance of E911 charge.  (a)  Amount of Charge.  The prepaid wireless E911 charge shall be One Dollar ($1.00) per retail transaction.

          (b)  Collection of charge.  The prepaid wireless E911 charge shall be collected by the seller from the consumer with respect to each retail transaction occurring in this state.  The amount of the prepaid wireless E911 charge shall be either separately stated on an invoice, receipt or other similar document that is provided to the consumer by the seller, or otherwise disclosed to the consumer.

          (c)  Application of charge.  For purposes of paragraph (b) of this subsection, a retail transaction that is effected in person by a consumer at a business location of the seller shall be treated as occurring in this state if that business location is in this state, and any other retail transaction shall be treated as occurring in this state if the retail transaction is treated as occurring in this state for purposes of Section 27-65-19(1)(d)(v)3.c.

          (d)  Liability for charge.  The prepaid wireless E911 charge is the liability of the consumer and not of the seller or of any provider, except that the seller shall be liable to remit all prepaid wireless E911 charges that the seller collects from consumers as provided in subsection (3), including all such charges that the seller is deemed to have collected where the amount of the charge has not been separately stated on an invoice, receipt, or other similar document provided to the consumer by the seller.

          (e)  Exclusion of E911 charge from base of other taxes and fees.  The amount of the prepaid wireless E911 charge that is collected by a seller from a consumer, whether or not such amount is separately stated on an invoice, receipt or other similar document provided to the consumer by the seller, shall not be included in the base for measuring any tax, fee, surcharge or other charge that is imposed by this state, any political subdivision of this state or any intergovernmental agency.

          (f)  Resetting of charge.  The prepaid wireless E911 charge shall be increased or reduced, as applicable, upon any change to the state E911 charge on postpaid wireless telecommunications service under Section 19-5-333.  Such increase or reduction shall be effective on the effective date of the change to the postpaid charge or, if later, the first day of the first calendar month to occur at least sixty (60) days after the enactment of the change to the postpaid charge.  The department shall provide not less than thirty (30) days of advance notice of such increase or reduction on the commission's website.

     (3)  Administration of E911 charge.  (a)  Time and manner of payment.  Prepaid wireless E911 charges collected by sellers shall be remitted to the department at the times and in the manner provided by Chapter 65 of Title 27 with respect to sales and use taxes.  The department shall establish registration and payment procedures that substantially coincide with the registration and payment procedures that apply to Chapter 65 of Title 27.

          (b)  Seller administrative deduction.  A seller shall be permitted to deduct and retain two percent (2%) of prepaid wireless E911 charges that are collected by the seller from consumers.

          (c)  Audit and appeal procedures.  The audit and appeal procedures applicable to Chapter 65 of Title 27 shall apply to prepaid wireless E911 charges.

          (d)  Exemption documentation.  The department shall establish procedures by which a seller of prepaid wireless telecommunications service may document that a sale is not a retail transaction, which procedures shall substantially coincide with the procedures for documenting sale for resale transactions for sales and use tax purposes under Chapter 65 of Title 27.

          (e)  Disposition of remitted charges.  The department shall pay all remitted prepaid wireless E911 charges over to the Commercial Mobile Radio Service Emergency Telephone Services Board  within thirty (30) days of receipt * * *, for use by the board in accordance with the purposes permitted by Section 19‑5‑333, after deducting an amount, not to exceed two percent (2%) of collected charges, that shall be retained by the department to reimburse its direct costs of administering the collection and remittance of prepaid wireless E911 charges. * * *The amount of the distribution shall be determined by dividing the population of the communications district by the state population, and then multiplying that quotient times the total revenues remitted to the department after deducting the amount authorized in this subsection.  The CMRS Board shall use the remaining funds as follows:

              (i)  An amount not to exceed four percent (4%) of the charges collected by the seller to be used by the board in accordance with the purposes permitted by Section 19-5-333;

              (ii)  An amount not less than ninety percent (90%) of the charges collected by the seller to be distributed to the communications districts.  The amount of the distribution shall be determined by dividing the population of the communications district by the state population, and then multiplying that quotient times the total revenues remitted to the department after deducting the amount authorized in this subsection; and

              (iii)  An amount not to exceed two percent (2%) of the charges collected by the seller to be retained by the board as reimbursement for the costs incurred in administering this section.

     (4)  No Liability.  (a)  No liability regarding 911 service.  No provider or seller of prepaid wireless telecommunications service shall be liable for damages to any person resulting from or incurred in connection with the provision of, or failure to provide, 911 or E911 service, or for identifying, or failing to identify, the telephone number, address, location or name associated with any person or device that is accessing or attempting to access 911 or E911 service.

          (b)  No provider of prepaid wireless service shall be liable for damages to any person or entity resulting from or incurred in connection with the provider's provision of assistance to any investigative or law enforcement officer of the United States, this or any other state, or any political subdivision of this or any other state, in connection with any investigation or other law enforcement activity by such law enforcement officer that the provider believes in good faith to be lawful.

          (c)  Incorporation of postpaid 911 liability protection.  In addition to the protection from liability provided by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection, each provider and seller shall be entitled to the further protection from liability, if any, that is provided to providers and sellers of wireless telecommunications service that is not prepaid wireless telecommunications service pursuant to Section 19-5-361.

     (5)  Exclusivity of prepaid wireless E911 charge.  The prepaid wireless E911 charge imposed by this section shall be the only E911 governmental funding obligation imposed with respect to prepaid wireless telecommunications service in this state, and no tax, fee, surcharge or other charge shall be imposed by this state, any political subdivision of this state, or any intergovernmental agency, for E911 funding purposes, upon any provider, seller or consumer with respect to the sale, purchase, use or provision of prepaid wireless telecommunications service.

     (6)  Notwithstanding any other method or formula of collection and/or distribution of the emergency telephone service charges as specified in this section and as such collection and/or distribution method or formula is specified in this section, a provider may collect and distribute the said charges in any other manner applicable to satisfy the intent and requirements of this section.

     SECTION 3.  Section 19-5-335, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     19-5-335.  (1)  Each CMRS provider shall act as a collection agent for the CMRS Fund and shall, as part of the provider's normal monthly billing process, collect the CMRS service charges levied upon CMRS connections pursuant to Section 19-5-333(2)(a) from each CMRS connection to whom the billing provider provides CMRS service and shall, not later than thirty (30) days after the end of the calendar month in which such CMRS service charges are collected, remit to the board the net CMRS service charges so collected after deducting the fee authorized by subsection (2) of this section.  Each billing provider shall list the CMRS service charge as a separate entry on each bill which includes a CMRS service charge.

     (2)  Each CMRS provider shall be entitled to deduct and retain from the CMRS service charges collected by such provider during each calendar month an amount not to exceed one percent (1%) of the gross aggregate amount of such CMRS service charges so collected as reimbursement for the costs incurred by such provider in collecting, handling and processing such CMRS service charges.

     (3)  The board shall be entitled to retain from the CMRS service charges collected during each calendar month an amount not to exceed two percent (2%) of the money allocated to the CMRS Fund as reimbursement for the costs incurred by the board in administering Sections 19-5-331 through 19-5-341 including, but not limited to, retaining and paying the independent, third-party auditor to review and disburse the cost recovery funds and to prepare the reports contemplated by Sections 19-5-331 through 19-5-341.

     (4)  Each CMRS provider shall register with the CMRS Board and shall provide the following information upon registration:

          (a)  The company name of the provider;

          (b)  The marketing name of the provider;

          (c)  The publicly traded name of the provider;

          (d)  The physical address of the company headquarters and of the main office located in the State of Mississippi; and

          (e)  The names and addresses of the providers' board of directors/owners.

     Each CMRS provider shall notify the board of any change in the information prescribed in paragraphs (a) through (e).  The board may suspend the disbursement of cost recovery funds to, and may impose an administrative fine in an amount not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) on any provider which fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection.

     SECTION 4.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2016.


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