Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004

Kansas to tack 50-cent fee onto cell-phone bills

House, Senate send legislation for 911 systems to governor, who says she’ll sign measure

April 1, 2004


— A bill imposing a new, 50-cent monthly fee on wireless phones to finance improvements in county 911 systems cleared the Legislature on Wednesday and went to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Proponents of the measure think it could generate $7.8 million a year for upgrading emergency communications systems, making it easier to locate people who make emergency 911 calls on wireless phones.

Legislative negotiators drafted the final version of the bill. The House approved the compromise, 83-42, and the Senate passed it, 29-8.

"The governor supports this bill and is glad to see the Legislature working together to get this important safety issue resolved," said Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran.

Currently, personnel in most counties' dispatch centers are shown the number but not the location of a cell phone on which a 911 call is made -- information that is automatically provided on calls made from traditional phones. Also, the bill's supporters have said, cell phone calls are sometimes routed to the wrong county or even across state lines.

Under the bill, the wireless fee would be collected starting July 1, with 25 cents remaining in a user's home county and 25 cents going to rural counties with relatively few wireless users.

Counties already can impose a monthly fee of 75 cents on traditional wireline phones to provide money for emergency communications system.

Enhanced 911 is House Sub for Sub for SB 153.

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