Florida Senate - 2018                      CS for CS for SB 1018
       By the Committees on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities; and Senators
       Bean and Stargel
       585-02918-18                                          20181018c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to designation of eligible
    3         telecommunications carriers; amending s. 364.10, F.S.;
    4         revising the term “eligible telecommunications
    5         carrier”; authorizing the Public Service Commission to
    6         designate any commercial mobile radio service provider
    7         as an eligible telecommunications carrier for the
    8         purpose of providing Lifeline service; deleting a
    9         provision requiring carriers to allow subscribers to
   10         demonstrate continued eligibility for Lifeline service
   11         under certain conditions; requiring subscribers to
   12         furnish proof of eligibility upon request from the
   13         carrier or the Federal Communications Commission or
   14         its designee; revising the carriers that may provide
   15         Lifeline service; revising Lifeline service
   16         eligibility; deleting obsolete provisions; revising
   17         the entities with which the commission may exchange
   18         certain information; amending s. 364.107, F.S.;
   19         revising the entities to which certain information
   20         relating to Lifeline service eligibility may be
   21         released; providing an effective date.
   23  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   25         Section 1. Section 364.10, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   26  read:
   27         364.10 Lifeline service.—
   28         (1)(a) An eligible telecommunications carrier shall provide
   29  a Lifeline Assistance Plan to qualified residential subscribers,
   30  as defined in the eligible telecommunications carrier’s
   31  published schedules. For the purposes of this section, the term
   32  “eligible telecommunications carrier” means a telecommunications
   33  company, as defined by s. 364.02, which is designated as an
   34  eligible telecommunications carrier by the commission pursuant
   35  to 47 C.F.R. s. 54.201. Notwithstanding the provision of s.
   36  364.011 that exempts certain commercial mobile radio service
   37  providers from commission oversight, the term “eligible
   38  telecommunications carrier” includes any commercial mobile radio
   39  service provider designated by the commission pursuant to 47
   40  C.F.R. s. 54.201 and the commission is authorized to make such a
   41  designation, upon petition, for the limited purpose of providing
   42  Lifeline service.
   43         (b) An eligible telecommunications carrier must shall offer
   44  a consumer who applies for or receives Lifeline service the
   45  option of blocking all toll calls or, if technically capable,
   46  placing a limit on the number of toll calls a consumer can make.
   47  The eligible telecommunications carrier may not charge the
   48  consumer an administrative charge or other additional fee for
   49  blocking the service.
   50         (c) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not collect
   51  a service deposit in order to initiate Lifeline service if the
   52  qualifying low-income consumer voluntarily elects toll blocking
   53  or toll limitation. If the qualifying low-income consumer elects
   54  not to place toll blocking on the line, an eligible
   55  telecommunications carrier may charge a service deposit.
   56         (d) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not charge
   57  Lifeline subscribers a monthly number-portability charge.
   58         (e)1. An eligible telecommunications carrier must notify a
   59  Lifeline subscriber of impending termination of Lifeline service
   60  if the company has a reasonable basis for believing that the
   61  subscriber no longer qualifies for such service. Notification of
   62  pending termination must be in the form of a letter that is
   63  separate from the subscriber’s bill.
   64         2. An eligible telecommunications carrier shall allow a
   65  subscriber 60 days following the date of the pending termination
   66  letter to demonstrate continued eligibility. The subscriber must
   67  present proof of continued eligibility upon request of the
   68  eligible telecommunications carrier or the Federal
   69  Communications Commission or its designee. An eligible
   70  telecommunications carrier may transfer a subscriber off of
   71  Lifeline service, pursuant to its tariff, if the subscriber
   72  fails to demonstrate continued eligibility.
   73         3. The commission shall establish procedures for such
   74  notification and termination.
   75         (f) An eligible telecommunications carrier must shall
   76  timely credit a consumer’s bill with the Lifeline Assistance
   77  credit as soon as practicable, but no later than 60 days
   78  following receipt of notice of eligibility from the Office of
   79  Public Counsel or proof of eligibility from the consumer.
   80         (2)(a) An Each local exchange telecommunications company
   81  that has more than 1 million access lines and that is designated
   82  as an eligible telecommunications carrier, including shall, and
   83  any commercial mobile radio service provider designated as an
   84  eligible telecommunications carrier pursuant to 47 U.S.C. s.
   85  214(e) may, upon filing a notice of election to do so with the
   86  commission, provide Lifeline service to any otherwise eligible
   87  customer or potential customer who meets an income eligibility
   88  test at 135 150 percent or less of the federal poverty income
   89  guidelines for Lifeline customers. Such a test for eligibility
   90  must augment, rather than replace, the eligibility standards
   91  established by federal law and based on participation in certain
   92  low-income assistance programs. Each intrastate interexchange
   93  telecommunications company shall file or publish a schedule
   94  providing at a minimum the intrastate interexchange
   95  telecommunications company’s current Lifeline benefits and
   96  exemptions to Lifeline customers who meet the income eligibility
   97  test set forth in this subsection. The Office of Public Counsel
   98  shall certify and maintain claims submitted by a customer for
   99  eligibility under the income test authorized by this subsection.
  100         (b) Each eligible telecommunications carrier subject to
  101  this subsection must shall provide to each state and federal
  102  agency providing benefits to persons eligible for Lifeline
  103  service applications, brochures, pamphlets, or other materials
  104  that inform the persons of their eligibility for Lifeline, and
  105  each state agency providing the benefits shall furnish the
  106  materials to affected persons at the time they apply for
  107  benefits.
  108         (c) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not
  109  discontinue basic local telecommunications service to a
  110  subscriber who receives Lifeline service because of nonpayment
  111  by the subscriber of charges for nonbasic services billed by the
  112  telecommunications company, including, but not limited to, long
  113  distance service. A subscriber who receives Lifeline service
  114  must shall pay all applicable basic local telecommunications
  115  service fees, including the subscriber line charge, E-911,
  116  telephone relay system charges, and applicable state and federal
  117  taxes.
  118         (d) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not refuse
  119  to connect, reconnect, or provide Lifeline service because of
  120  unpaid toll charges or nonbasic charges other than basic local
  121  telecommunications service.
  122         (e) An eligible telecommunications carrier may require that
  123  payment arrangements be made for outstanding debt associated
  124  with basic local telecommunications service, subscriber line
  125  charges, E-911, telephone relay system charges, and applicable
  126  state and federal taxes.
  127         (f) An eligible telecommunications carrier may block a
  128  Lifeline service subscriber’s access to all long-distance
  129  service, except for toll-free numbers, and may block the ability
  130  to accept collect calls if when the subscriber owes an
  131  outstanding amount for long-distance service or amounts
  132  resulting from collect calls. However, the eligible
  133  telecommunications carrier may not impose a charge for blocking
  134  long-distance service. The eligible telecommunications carrier
  135  shall remove the block at the request of the subscriber without
  136  additional cost to the subscriber upon payment of the
  137  outstanding amount. An eligible telecommunications carrier may
  138  charge a service deposit before removing the block.
  139         (g)1. By December 31, 2010, Each state agency that provides
  140  benefits to persons eligible for Lifeline service shall
  141  undertake, in cooperation with the Department of Children and
  142  Families, the Department of Education, the commission, the
  143  Office of Public Counsel, and telecommunications companies
  144  designated eligible telecommunications carriers providing
  145  Lifeline services, the development of procedures to promote
  146  Lifeline participation. The department departments, the
  147  commission, and the Office of Public Counsel may exchange
  148  sufficient information with the appropriate eligible
  149  telecommunications carriers or the Federal Communications
  150  Commission, or its designee and any commercial mobile radio
  151  service provider electing to provide Lifeline service under
  152  paragraph (a), such as a person’s name, date of birth, service
  153  address, and telephone number, so that eligible customers the
  154  carriers can be enrolled identify and enroll an eligible person
  155  in the Lifeline and Link-Up programs. The information remains
  156  confidential and exempt pursuant to s. 364.107 and may only be
  157  used for purposes of determining eligibility and enrollment in
  158  the Lifeline and Link-Up programs.
  159         2. If any state agency determines that a person is eligible
  160  for Lifeline services, the agency shall immediately forward the
  161  information to the commission to ensure that the person is
  162  automatically enrolled in the program with the appropriate
  163  eligible telecommunications carrier. The state agency shall
  164  include an option for an eligible customer to choose not to
  165  subscribe to the Lifeline service. The Public Service Commission
  166  and the Department of Children and Families shall, no later than
  167  December 31, 2007, adopt rules creating procedures to
  168  automatically enroll eligible customers in Lifeline service.
  169         3. By December 31, 2010, The commission, the Department of
  170  Children and Families, the Office of Public Counsel, and each
  171  eligible telecommunications carrier offering Lifeline and Link
  172  Up services shall convene a Lifeline Workgroup to discuss how
  173  the eligible subscriber information in subparagraph 1. will be
  174  shared, the obligations of each party with respect to the use of
  175  that information, and the procedures to be implemented to
  176  increase enrollment and verify eligibility in these programs.
  177         (h) The commission shall report to the Governor, the
  178  President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
  179  Representatives by December 31 each year on the number of
  180  customers who are subscribing to Lifeline service and the
  181  effectiveness of any procedures to promote participation.
  182         (i) The commission may undertake appropriate measures to
  183  inform low-income consumers of the availability of the Lifeline
  184  and Link-Up programs.
  185         (j) The commission shall adopt rules to administer this
  186  section.
  187         Section 2. Subsection (2) of section 364.107, Florida
  188  Statutes, is amended to read:
  189         364.107 Public records exemption; Lifeline Assistance Plan
  190  participants.—
  191         (2) Information made confidential and exempt under
  192  subsection (1) may be released to the applicable
  193  telecommunications carrier, the Federal Communications
  194  Commission, or the Federal Communications Commission designee
  195  for purposes directly connected with eligibility for,
  196  verification related to, or auditing of a Lifeline Assistance
  197  Plan.
  198         Section 3. This act shall take effect upon becoming law.