911 bill progresses in Jefferson City

cell-phoneA bill that would give counties the option of taxing cell phones to provide 911 coverage to them has passed the Missouri House.

The measure passed Thursday by 115-29 vote and now goes to the state senate.

While 70 percent or more of 911 calls come from cell phones, Missouri has been the only state that does not allow them to be taxed for that.

Landline fees often cover the costs even though fewer and fewer people use landlines, the Mid-America Regional Council noted in a press release today.

“And since younger people are far more likely to do without landlines,” it stated, “a disproportionate number of retirees on fixed incomes – who are far more likely to stay wired – end up footing the bill for everyone.”

It also stated:

Under House Bill 1573, counties could propose ballot issues that if approved by voters would allow monthly fees of up to $1.50 to be charged for any device capable of contacting 911.

The bill would also add a 3 percent fee to pre-paid wireless phones. That fee would support the poison control center and help pay for statewide upgrades to 911 service.

The measure before the senate has been filed as senate bill 872. Its co-sponsors include Senators Jolie Justus and Jason Holsman, both Kansas City Democrats.


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