For immediate release:

Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, in partnership with San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, introduced AB 1769 which seeks to prevent the county's new 'Text to 9-1-1' system from being abused. Current law makes it a misdemeanor to "nuisance call" the 9-1-1 system. AB 1769 would expand existing law to include nuisance texts to 9-1-1.

"Often times when people call 9-1-1 it is a matter of life or death and it is important that the system is able to function without interference," said Rodriguez. "Text-to-911will help get emergency assistance to the deaf, hard of hearing and speech impaired communities faster. My bill ensures that 9-1-1 operators are able to focus their attention on real emergencies and not nuisance calls or texts."

San Bernardino County is one of the first places in California to implement the Text to 9-1-1 program. As of November 5, 2015, 21 agencies in the Inland Empire went live with 9-1-1 text service and now answer texts and other types of media requests for emergency aid. Since the beginning of that start-up, these agencies are already receiving nuisance text messages. Existing law will not cover these messages.

"Nuisance calls to 9-1-1 have been an issue for many years. As the first region in the State of California to provide Text to 9-1-1 Service for our citizens, it was evident early in the deployment process that amending PC653x to include any electronic device would be necessary," stated San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon.

The bill will be heard in committee in the spring.

Assemblymember Rodriguez is Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Local Emergency Preparedness, and Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. He represents the 52nd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona and portions of unincorporated Fontana.