Warwick, RI - Last month a Federal Communications Commissioner notified Governor Gina Raimondo that because Rhode Island is diverting millions in 911 fees from the E-911 system, Rhode Island was ineligible for federal funding to modernize the technology of its E911 system. On May 16, 2019, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello responded on WPRO by declaring that “we are not losing any federal dollars” for the E-911 system. Furthermore, Speaker Mattiello stated a restricted account for 911 fees would lead to “corruption”.
Chairwoman Sue M. Cienki commented: "It appears that Speaker Mattiello is challenging the FCC over 911 fees. He is doing this because he, like other State House politicians, are addicted to bad fiscal policies like diverting of millions in 911 fees every year from the E-911 system. This has been going on for nearly two decades. It appears Rhode Island needs an intervention from the federal government to break its addiction to misspending 911 fees.
Cienki added: “It is laughable that Speaker Mattiello would suggest a restricted account for 911 fees would lead to corruption. In fact, the 911 fees were originally placed in a restricted account for over a decade without any problems. Instead, State House politicians have corrupted the use of 911 fees by diverting them to help subsidize the General Assembly’s bloated budget, which pays for legislative grants and the salaries of political operatives.
Cienki concluded: “I commend House Republicans for proposing legislation that will put 911 fees into a restricted account and could lead to a possible reduction in the 911 fee. They are putting the taxpayers first!”