A measure that would give Missouri counties additional ways to increase 911 funding could come up in the state Senate soon. Representative Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs) says her bill would allow counties to ask voters to approve a sales tax increase or a monthly cell phone charge. Lauer says current funding is declining because landline users are the only ones that must provide it.
“We have individuals, particularly those who have landlines, which tend to be our senior citizens and our businesses are paying upwards to $5 a month on their landline,” said Lauer. “By spreading it out across the board for any phone service, that would decrease the amount they pay.”
Lauer believes there are about 17 Missouri counties that do not have 911 service.
“They just don’t have the money to expand it up to regular 911 service. As an example, in some of these counties, you will 911, you will get a clerk in the sheriff’s office who’s not trained to handle any kind of situation. So if you are trying to give CPR to someone and maybe don’t know how, they can’t guide you through that. We are truly dealing with the lives of our citizens,” said Lauer. “It would get everybody in the state up to the basic standard of 911. It also provides counties that already have 911 service the ability to move forward with texting.”
This is the fourth year that Lauer has offered the measure. Last year, it died in the Senate during the last week of session because of a Democratic filibuster on a Right to Work bill. With less than two weeks to go, Lauer says she has the support to get the bill through this session.