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S. 2661: National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2019

The text of the bill below is as of Oct 22, 2019 (Introduced).


II

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 2661

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 22, 2019

(for himself, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Moran, and Mr. Reed) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

A BILL

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to designate 9–8–8 as the universal telephone number for the purpose of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system operating through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and through the Veterans Crisis Line, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2019.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average, there are 129 suicides per day in the United States.

(2)

To prevent future suicides, it is critical to transition the cumbersome, existing 10-digit National Suicide Hotline to a universal, easy-to-remember, 3-digit phone number and connect people in crisis with life-saving resources.

(3)

It is essential that people in the United States have access to a 3-digit national suicide hotline across all geographic locations.

(4)

The designated suicide hotline number will need to be both familiar and recognizable to all people in the United States.

3.

Universal telephone number for national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system

(a)

In general

Section 251(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 251(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Universal telephone number for national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system

9–8–8 is designated as the universal telephone number within the United States for the purpose of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system operating through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline maintained by the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use under section 520E–3 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 290bb–36c) and through the Veterans Crisis Line maintained by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under section 1720F(h) of title 38, United States Code.

.

(b)

Effective date

The amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.

(c)

Required report

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall jointly submit a report that details the resources necessary to make the use of 9–8–8, as designated under paragraph (4) of section 251(e) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 251(e)), as added by subsection (a) of this section, operational and effective across the United States to—

(1)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;

(2)

the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate;

(3)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives; and

(4)

the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

4.

State authority over fees

(a)

Authority

(1)

In general

Nothing in this Act, any amendment made by this Act, the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.), or any Commission regulation or order may prevent the imposition and collection of a fee or charge applicable to a commercial mobile service or an IP-enabled voice service specifically designated by a State, a political subdivision of a State, an Indian Tribe, or village or regional corporation serving a region established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) for the support or implementation of 9–8–8 services, if the fee or charge is held in a sequestered account to be obligated or expended only in support of 9–8–8 services, or enhancements of such services, as specified in the provision of State or local law adopting the fee or charge.

(2)

Limit on fee or charge

For each class of subscribers to IP-enabled voice services, the fee or charge may not exceed the amount of any such fee or charge applicable to the same class of subscribers to telecommunications services.

(b)

Fee accountability report

To ensure efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the collection and expenditure of a fee or charge for the support or implementation of 9–8–8 services, not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Commission shall submit to the Committees on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Appropriations of the Senate and the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Appropriations of the House of Representatives a report that—

(1)

details the status in each State of the collection and distribution of such fees or charges; and

(2)

includes findings on the amount of revenues obligated or expended by each State or political subdivision thereof for any purpose other than the purpose for which any such fees or charges are specified.

(c)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Commercial mobile service

The term commercial mobile service has the meaning given that term under section 332(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 332(d)).

(2)

Commission

The term Commission means the Federal Communications Commission.

(3)

IP-enabled voice service

The term IP-enabled voice service shall include—

(A)

an interconnected VoIP service, as defined in section 9.3 of the title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor thereto; and

(B)

a one-way interconnected VoIP service.

(4)

State

The term State has the meaning given that term in section 7 of the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (47 U.S.C. 615b).

(5)

Telecommunications service

The term telecommunications service has the meaning given that term in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153).

5.

Location identification report

(a)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall submit to the appropriate committees a report that examines the feasibility and cost of including an automatic dispatchable location that would be conveyed with a 9–8–8 call, regardless of the technological platform used and including with calls from multi-line telephone systems (as defined in section 6502 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (47 U.S.C. 1471)).

(b)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Appropriate committees

The term appropriate committees means the following:

(A)

The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate.

(B)

The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate.

(C)

The Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.

(2)

Dispatchable location

The term dispatchable location means the street address of the calling party and additional information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party.