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Public Safety Alliance Calls for Spectrum Legislation to be Included in Any Payroll Extension Deal

Public Safety Alliance Reiterates Support for S.911;

Calls for Spectrum Legislation to be Included in Any Final Yearlong Payroll Tax Extension Deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 12, 2012 –As Congress returns from their holiday recess and the appointed conferees begin negotiations ahead of February 29 mandate for enacting a yearlong Payroll Tax Reduction Extension bill, the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) today reiterated its strong support for finally realizing a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network now.

“Congress came along way in 2011 toward crafting comprehensive spectrum legislation, to include establishing widespread bicameral and bipartisan support for allocating spectrum and funding toward a nationwide public safety broadband network. It is well within Congress’s reach to finally conclude this top legislative priority for public safety, state and local governments, critical infrastructure, and our nation’s domestic security for decades to come,” stated Mr. Christopher Moore, Chief of Police in San Jose, CA. “We urge both House and Senate leaders and their 20-member group of appointed conferees to begin meeting now to get this long overdue national homeland security need across the goal line by February 29th.”

In December 2011, the House passed spectrum legislation as part of its Payroll Tax Reduction Extension legislation, H.R. 3630, which included allocation of D Block spectrum within the 700 MHz band to public safety with $5-$6.5 billion in funding for the public safety broadband network. Several provisions within Title IV of H.R. 3630, as passed, have raised grave concerns for public safety and other stakeholders. The House included the Walden JOBS Act as Title IV after it had first passed the House Energy and Commerce’s Communications and Technology subcommittee, on an almost strict party line vote. The PSA, along with the “Big 7”, had come out in support of bipartisan Senate legislation previously passed by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on a 21-4 vote in June 2011, as S.911.

“We ask that all parties come together now and diligently work through the differences in the House and Senate spectrum bills to assure final resolution of this high priority national imperative to create jobs, boost the economy, cut the deficit and greatly enhance our nationwide emergency communications infrastructure,” said Al Gillespie, President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Fire Chief in North Las Vegas, Nevada. He added, “Progress cannot be held up any longer in providing our nation’s first responders with the readily available 21st century tools necessary to better protect the public and themselves when responding to every day and large scale emergencies. We need Congress to enact legislation now that allows us to finally implement the 9/11 Commission recommendation made almost a decade ago! Only Congress can make this happen. We implore them to do so for our collective safety, security, efficiency and effectiveness.”

The PSA sent an open letter on spectrum legislation this week to all Members of Congress, as well as released a paper written by wireless expert and public safety advocate Andy Seybold outlining the need for gaining D Block without the threat of losing current 700 MHz narrowband spectrum For more information, go to: www.psafirst.org.

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