The Interim Committee on 911 access is trying to find a way to make 911 access more consistent across the state, even though attempts to do so have been voted down as ballot initiatives twice before. Committee Chair Chuck Gatschenberger says he understands the frustrations of those who work with 911 services.
But Gatschenberger says he’ll be meeting with House Speaker Steven Tilley to work on a way to make this year successful. The reason it has failed before is in order to pay for increased access, the ballot would ask for a fee on cell phones for 911 access, and increases in taxes have not been popular in Missouri.
He says he’s attempted to get a meeting with Governor Nixon about this, but hasn’t been able to. He says he knows there will be three or more bills dealing with this come up next legislative session, which starts in January. He says more than likely they will consolidate them. All measures that create a tax or fee have to be put to a vote of the people, so if the legislation requires the cell phone tax, it will be on next November’s ballot.
One thing the Committee says it would like to do first is to enable people to text 911 for help from a cell phone, because those who are deaf or for some other reason can’t talk, the texting option would give them access to 911 services.
AUDIO Allison Blood reports. Mp3 [1:02]