The act requires penal communications service providers (providers) who provide penal communications services (services) to correctional facilities (facilities) to maintain data and records (data) related to the services provided to those facilities. The act requires providers to submit the data and a report on the services provided to the public utilities commission (commission) on a quarterly basis. The commission is required to publish the data and report on its website in a format accessible by the public.
The commission shall establish a maximum per-minute rate for in-state debit, prepaid, and collect calls to or from facilities, and shall conduct trial tests to ensure accountability and transparency. Starting on January 1, 2022, rate caps established by the federal communications commission apply to all in-state debit, prepaid, and collect calls to or from a facility.
The act requires the commission to conduct trial tests on a statistically valid sample of penal communications services and document the test results to ensure the quality of the calls and the accountability of the service.
The act requires providers to include specific language to be displayed prominently on the provider's website concerning the filing of a complaint.
Current law exempts providers and the services provided from oversight by the commission. The act grants the commission authority over providers and the services provided.
For the 2021-22 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $259,251 to the department of regulatory agencies for use by the public utilities commission. This appropriation is from the telecommunications utility fund. To implement this act, the division may use this appropriation as follows:
- $232,101 for personal services, which amount is based on an assumption that the division will require an additional 3.0 FTE; and
- $27,150 for operating expenses.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)