Several times in recent years, lawmakers have attempted to find a way to support 911 at the state level rather than leaving that to counties. St. Clair Representative Dave Hinson is working on a bill to do just that, after hearing testimony on the issue over the summer as vice chairman of the Interim Committee on 911 Access.

Hinson’s planned approach is to put before voters a flat fee on cell phones statewide, though he is not sure yet what the amount will be. “Right now I’m looking at somewhere around 75 cents proposing to put on the ballot.”

In those counties that have a fee on landline phones to support 911, Hinson says his plan would repeal those and replace it with his cell phone fee. Part of the fee paid by each user would go back to the county he or she lives in. The rest would go into a fund to support statewide 911 system upgrades and mapping.

Other details to be worked out might deal with issues related to consolidating 911 centers across the state. Hinson hopes to have a bill ready soon after the session begins.

AUDIO:  Mike Lear reports – 1:00