Thursday, June 27, 2013

St. Rep. Rosenberger Applauds Passage of FirstNet Resolution

COLUMBUS—[Yesterday], Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) applauded the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 15 through the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill urges the United States Congress to hold regular hearings in reference to the nationwide broadband public safety network designated as FirstNet, and to provide information on the costs of the network for Ohio and Ohio’s taxpayers.

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) was enacted by the federal government for the use of first responders. This new directive allows for the federal government to take over Ohio’s current broadband system and requires Ohio to singularly utilize FirstNet. In an effort to protect Ohio’s taxpayers by analyzing how FirstNet will affect the state financially, S.C.R. 15 calls for detailed answers in regards to the effectiveness and costs of the new network. Ohio has already invested over $500,000,000 in the current first responder system and FirstNet requires Ohio to financially back the system with costs remaining unknown.

“Ohio needs to make sure that our infrastructure assets are protected and that we continue to make good investments,” said Rep. Rosenberger, who sponsored the companion bill to S.C.R. 15 in the House. “FirstNet is a great idea. Emergency personnel deserve an interoperable communications system, but I believe that Ohio and other states should play a larger role in the development of a nationwide system. As a state, we have invested far too much to develop a statewide communications system to have no guarantee that the federal system can deliver a more effective service.”

Due to the undetermined expenditures of FirstNet, the resolution urges Congress to create a comprehensive business plan listing the expenses of the service. In addition, the resolution asks that Ohio be able to opt-out of the network if the state chooses to do so.

S.C.R. 15 passed with bipartisan support.