FCC urges RI to stop diverting 911 fees to other funds

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Federal officials are urging Rhode Island to stop diverting proceeds from the 911 fee to fund other state budget items.

WPRI-TV reports that the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to Gov. Gina Raimondo calling for a halt to the practice.

FCC Commissioner Mike O’Reilly says diverting 911 fees harms public safety and makes states ineligible for funding to modernize emergency call centers.

Rhode Island has diverted $11.4 million from 911 fee proceeds according to 2017 data.

The Democratic governor’s office says the 911 system has new telecommunicators and technology upgrades including the Text-to-911 service.

Her office says Raimondo welcomes reforms on the funds by the General Assembly, while House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says the governor can make the decision by proposing a budget amendment.

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