Print Friendly SENATE BILL NO. 1508 – Telecommunications services, deaf
SENATE BILL NO. 1508
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S1508......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
TELECOMMUNICATIONS - DEAF - Amends existing law to provide that the Public
Utilities Commission shall establish a fund for the provision of relay
services, including customer premises equipment, for the deaf and hard of
hearing and to delete language providing that no funds derived from charges
billed and collected pursuant to another statute may be used for the
acquisition of end-user telephones.
02/19 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/20 Rpt prt - to St Aff
|||| LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ||||
Fifty-fourth Legislature Second Regular Session - 1998
IN THE SENATE
SENATE BILL NO. 1508
BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING;
3 AMENDING SECTION 61-1304, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE THAT THE PUBLIC UTILITIES
4 COMMISSION SHALL ESTABLISH A FUND FOR THE PROVISION OF RELAY SERVICES
5 INCLUDING CUSTOMER PREMISES EQUIPMENT FOR THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING, TO
6 MAKE A TECHNICAL CORRECTION AND TO DELETE LANGUAGE PROVIDING THAT NO FUNDS
7 DERIVED FROM CHARGES BILLED AND COLLECTED PURSUANT TO ANOTHER STATUTE MAY
8 BE USED FOR THE ACQUISITION OF END-USER TELEPHONES; AND TO PROVIDE AN
9 EFFECTIVE DATE.
10 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
11 SECTION 1. That Section 61-1304, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
12 amended to read as follows:
13 61-1304. TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES FUND. (1) The administrator
14 shall establish a fund for the provision of relay services under this chapter,
15 not including customer premises equipment, to be known and desig-
16 nated as the Idaho telecommunications relay services fund, in such depository
17 and under such regulations rules as shall be estab-
18 lished by the commission, to which shall be credited:
19 (a) All monetary contributions, gifts and grants received by the adminis-
21 (b) All charges billed and collected pursuant to section 61-1305, Idaho
23 (2) No funds derived from charges billed and collected pursuant to
24 section 61-1305, Idaho Code, shall be used for the acquisition of end user
25 text telephones.
26 (3) All moneys deposited in the telecommunications relay fund
27 shall be expended for the purpose of defraying the expenses, debts and costs
28 incurred in carrying out the provisions of this chapter, and for defraying
29 administrative expenses of the administrator, including necessary expenses for
30 consultants to the administrator, expenses for travel, supplies and equipment
31 and other expenses of the administrator necessary for the implementation of
32 the provisions of this chapter. All moneys credited to the telecommunications
33 relay services fund may be expended by the administrator at such times and in
34 such manner as may be authorized by the commission.
35 SECTION 2. This act shall be in full force and effect on and after Janu-
36 ary 1, 1999.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
This legislation would remove the prohibition against using
funds in the telecommunications relay services fund for customer
premise equipment. It would allow the Idaho Public Utilities
Commission to work with the Idaho Council on Deaf and Hard of
Hearing to consider setting up an equipment distribution
program. The PUC could place income limits on those eligible to
receive the equipment and an outside contractor could be used to
handle the equipment distribution.
As many as 25 per cent of the Idaho adult population have a
hearing loss and at least 10 per cent have trouble hearing normal
communication. Approximately 4,000 are deaf. Many of these aren't
able to use regular telephone service. Phones which have volume
and tone controls for people who are hard of hearing usually cost
more than $100. Telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD)
begin at $220 and go up to $500, depending on the features.
Twenty five other states currently have such a program,
including Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and
If the PUC agreed to the service, it could cost $90,000 per year,
based on what Montana is spending. Phone companies currently pay
three cents per access line to the telecommunications relay
service fund. This would require an increase to three and one
Statement of purpose/fiscal note