S. 1541 would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue rules to ensure that payphone service providers charge “just and reasonable rates” for payphone calls and other communication methods used by inmates in correctional facilities. The bill also would clarify the FCC’s authority to regulate intrastate calls facilitated by payphone service providers.
Using information from the FCC, CBO estimates that it would cost $6 million over the 2023-2027 period to implement the bill. CBO expects the commission would need about 20 employees to collect and analyze data on the cost of inmate communications and then issue rules based on that analysis. However, because the FCC is authorized to collect fees each year sufficient to offset the appropriated costs of its regulatory activities, CBO estimates that the net cost to the FCC would be negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority.
S. 1541 would impose private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). CBO estimates that the total cost of the mandates on private entities would exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($184 million in 2022, adjusted annually for inflation).