HBA-MSH H.B. 1662 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1662 By: Alexander Public Safety 3/7/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Texas emergency call box program (program) was initiated in 1993 in five roadway sections in four counties. The program consists of a system of emergency telephone call boxes which are designed to enable users of certain state highways to request emergency and nonemergency response services. Currently, the program may not receive state highway funds for its operation or maintenance. Therefore, the program relies upon public and private entities to pay all direct or indirect costs. House Bill 1662 replaces the program with a system of automatic location identification telephone call boxes, and does not prohibit the utilization of state highway funds for the system. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 1662 amends the Transportation Code to authorize the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to implement a system of automatic location identification telephone call boxes (system), which if implemented must begin along rural interstate highways, including rest stops and roadside parks. The bill authorizes the call box system to enable users to communicate with providers of emergency and nonemergency response services. The bill requires TxDOT to limit the distance between call boxes to a maximum of two miles, except as prohibited by roadway conditions or where 24-hour communication service exists. The bill requires the Commission on State Emergency Communications, on the request of TxDOT, to provide technical assistance to TxDOT, including support for routing calls made from a call box to an emergency services provider. The bill sets forth provisions relating to the awarding of contracts by TxDOT for the implementation of the system. The bill requires TxDOT to report to the legislature and Legislative Budget Board each year on the system, including recommendations for legislative action. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.