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RULE §251.13The Use of the 9-1-1 Database for Emergency Notification Services

(a) Purpose. Pursuant to Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 771, §771.051(a)(7), the purpose of this rule is to assist the regional planning commissions (RPCs) and local governments in the proper planning, supporting, and/or facilitation of the use of the 9-1-1 database information for emergency notification services.

(b) Background. State law provides, and the Texas Attorney General has concluded, that the 9-1-1 database information is confidential and is not available for public inspection. (Texas Health & Safety Code §771.061(a); Texas Attorney General Open Records Decision 661, 1999.) Thus, RPCs assisting local governments or providers that support emergency notification services in the use of the 9-1-1 database information for emergency notification services should, unless otherwise ruled to the contrary by the Texas Attorney General or a court of competent jurisdiction, require the same degree of confidentiality protections for the 9-1-1 database information when it is used for emergency notification services as they do when the information is used for 9-1-1 emergency service purposes. Furthermore, because of the confidential nature of the 9-1-1 database information and because it contains unlisted and unpublished numbers, RPCs should retain the right to withdraw their assistance if the local government or the providers that support emergency notification services do not maintain the confidentiality of the information or misuse the emergency notification services.

(c) The information in the 9-1-1 database is collected and maintained solely for the provision of emergency services. The 9-1-1 database provider shall not release the 9-1-1 database information without the express written approval of the Commission and the RPC requesting use of such information.

(d) The Commission intends to authorize the release of the 9-1-1 database information within the Commission program areas for the use of emergency notification services under the condition that this information is be used for the purpose of warning or alerting citizens regarding information in an emergency situation where property or human life is in jeopardy. Further, it is the intention of Commission that the current designated 9-1-1 database provider, RPCs, and Commission staff cooperate with local government to the fullest extent possible in accordance with Commission rules and policy, and state and federal law for the implementation of emergency notification services.

(e) Since the Commission funds the maintenance of the 9-1-1 database through RPCs, the local government entity will bear the full responsibility for the expenses related to the implementation of emergency notification services and the transfer of data.

(f) Procedures. The procedures for authorization of utilizing the 9-1-1 database for emergency notification services will be:

  (1) The RPC shall submit a written request to the Commission for the authorization to release the information. This written request shall contain:

    (A) Technical format requirements of the emergency notification services;

    (B) The name(s) of the local government entity(ies) requesting the 9-1-1 database and its (their) written request;

    (C) A description of geographic area utilizing the services;

    (D) A general description of when and by whom the service may be deployed; and

    (E) An interlocal agreement from all parties that the 9-1-1 database will only be used in emergency situations and will be kept confidential and not available for public inspection.

  (2) The Commission staff has the authority to review and approve the written request and shall provide written authorization once all information is provided.

  (3) The designated 9-1-1 database provider shall cooperate and provide access to the information to the RPC, local government entity, or directly to the vendor of emergency notification services upon receipt from the RPC of a written request including a copy of the Commission's notification of approval.

  (4) The RPC shall notify the vendor of emergency notification services regarding the confidentiality of the 9-1-1 database.

  (5) The Commission staff will maintain an inventory of all requests, including withdrawals of assistance when the confidentiality of the information is misused.

  (6) The RPC will notify the Commission, through its quarterly performance report, on the implementation and status of any emergency notification services that utilize the 9-1-1 database information within its region and/or when the emergency notification services is withdrawn, especially when the withdrawal is based on misuse of the confidential information.

Source Note: The provisions of this §251.13 adopted to be effective August 4, 2002, 27 TexReg 6683; amended to be effective May 2, 2004, 29 TexReg 3956; amended to be effective December 7, 2008, 33 TexReg 9971

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