Directs telephone corporations to use information regarding federal and state assistance programs that qualify recipients for telephone lifeline service in offering such service.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public service law, in relation to providing for the identification of federal and state assistance programs which qualify recipients for telephone Lifeline service
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The bill would expand the number of New Yorkers that qualify for telephone lifeline service.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The bill would add a new section 92-g to the public Service Law that would identify 11 federal and state programs, participation in which would qualify a family to receive lifeline telephone service, and would allow the public Service commission to further designate such programs.
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: Currently the qualifying programs are established by federal law and regulations of the Public Service Commission. This would be the first time that such programs are identified in state statute.
JUSTIFICATION: As a consequence of "welfare reform," fewer New Yorkers qualify for the programs that would currently allow them to receive lifeline telephone service. These people are no less poor and no less in need of low cost telephone service. By expanding the list of qualifying programs, the state can cause more New Yorkers to benefit from this program which is mostly paid for by federal dollars.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.1771 of 2010-2011 - Referred to Energy and Telecommunications S.3446 of 2009-2010 - Referred to Energy and Telecommunications A.9129 of 2007-2008 - Passed Assembly & Referred to Corporations, Authorities & Commissions in the Senate
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1771--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 12, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. PERKINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Energy and Telecommuni- cations -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public service law, in relation to providing for the identification of federal and state assistance programs which qualify recipients for telephone Lifeline service THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 92-g to read as follows: S 92-G. QUALIFICATION FOR TELEPHONE LIFELINE SERVICE. 1. THE COMMIS- SION SHALL ADOPT RULES AND REGULATIONS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, WHICH WOULD REQUIRE THAT EVERY TELEPHONE CORPORATION OFFERING A RETAIL LOCAL SERVICE THAT IS DEFINED PURSUANT TO SUBPART E OF PART FIFTY-FOUR OF TITLE FORTY-SEVEN OF THE CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS AS A LIFELINE SERVICE AND RECEIVING FEDERAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE SUPPORT PURSUANT TO SUCH SUBPART FOR SUCH SERVICE PROVIDE SUCH SERVICE TO ALL CUSTOMERS WHO ARE IDENTIFIED BY SUCH COMPANY THROUGH CUSTOMER SUPPLIED INFORMATION OR THROUGH INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY AS A PARTICIPANT OR ELIGIBLE TO BE A PARTICIPANT IN: (A) ANY OF THE FOLLOWING FEDERAL OR STATE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: (I) MEDICAID, (II) FOOD STAMPS, (III) SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME, (IV) LOW-INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE, (V) STATE FAMILY ASSISTANCE, (VI) STATE SAFETY NET ASSISTANCE, (VII) VETERAN'S DISABILITY PENSION, (VIII) VETERAN'S SURVIVING SPOUSE PENSION, (IX) NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM,EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD06745-02-1 S. 1771--A 2
(X) STATE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT, OR (XI) CHILD HEALTH PLUS, AS A RECIPIENT OF FREE OR SUBSIDIZED HEALTH COVERAGE, OR FAMILY HEALTH PLUS; OR (B) SUCH ADDITIONAL FEDERAL OR STATE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AS MAY BE DESIGNATED BY THE COMMISSION AS A PROGRAM THAT WILL QUALIFY THE PARTIC- IPANT FOR SUCH LIFELINE RATE. 2. THE COMMISSION SHALL ADOPT RULES AND REGULATIONS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, ESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR CONSUMERS THAT ARE NOT ENROLLED IN FEDERAL OR STATE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS THAT WOULD QUALIFY SUCH CONSUMERS FOR SUCH LIFELINE RATE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE COMMISSION SHALL USE SOLELY INCOME OR OTHER FACTORS DIRECTLY RELATED TO INCOME IN DETERMINING THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA. 3. THE COMMISSION WILL ALSO ESTABLISH RULES REQUIRING EVERY CABLE TELEVISION COMPANY, AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWO HUNDRED TWELVE OF THIS CHAPTER THAT PROVIDES TELEPHONE SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS IN NEW YORK, TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE TARGETED ASSISTANCE FUND TO HELP SUPPORT COMPANIES THAT CHOOSE TO OFFER LIFELINE SERVICE TO THEIR CUSTOMERS. 4. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE "TARGETED ASSISTANCE FUND" IS A FUND CREATED IN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CASE 06-02-1998, AND WAS DESIGNED BY THE COMMISSION TO FUND PROGRAMS SUCH AS LIFELINE, EMERGENCY SERVICES (E911), AND THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICE FOR THE HEAR- ING IMPAIRED (TRS), ON A COMPETITIVELY NEUTRAL BASIS. S 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.