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Examiner
  • Bill would update 911 funding

  • State Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, is expressing optimism about passage of a bill to change the way 911 service is funded.

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  • State Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, is expressing optimism about passage of a bill to change the way 911 service is funded.
    “We’re really on the fast track,” Lauer said after the Missouri House early in the week passed her bill on a vote of 131-26.
    The Senate is expected to hold a hearing on the bill next week, and Lauer plans to meet with the governor to discuss the issue next week, she said.
    Missouri is the only state that pays for 911 service solely through fees on land lines, even though 80 percent or more of 911 calls are made via cell phone. Lauer said cell phones themselves lead to more 911 calls. A dozen people might see a wreck and all call it in – which is what safety officials want – but it does add to the call volume.
    In addition to the cell vs. land line fairness issue, there simply are fewer and fewer land lines as people cut the cord in favor of mobile devices, meaning the current tax base is shrinking.
    “Everybody understands the need for it,” Lauer said.
    Her bill would allow a fee of up to $1.50 a month for any device capable of contacting 911. That issue would go to the voters, county by county.
    “We are the only state left that doesn’t have this type of provision,” she said.
    The Mid-America Regional Council and others have also pushed for this change in the system.
     

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