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Bill to restore 911 funding heads to Kentucky Senate

Photo: LRC Public Information
By Shellie Hampton
We thank Rep. Rob Rothenburger for sponsoring the legislation.

The House has passed a bill that would close a loophole costing more than $1 million a year in funding to 911 dispatch centers.

House Bill 208, sponsored by Rep. Rob Rothenburger, R-Shelby, will once again collect the state wireless subscriber fee from wireless providers of Lifeline federal-assistance telephone service by requiring those providers to once again make 911 wireless fee payments to the state. 

During his remarks on the House floor, Rothenburger said some Lifeline providers had stopped paying, and one provider successfully lobbied the federal government to preempt the 911 Services Board’s attempt to access those fees.

“Last year we had one Lifeline provider that quit paying,” Rothenburger said. “So I’ve come back to you today so we can close that loophole to make them pay as well as everyone else.”

Rothenburger said the fees will help with current implementation of Next Generation 911 service.  He reminded his fellow lawmakers about the evolution of the emergency call, and with every evolution comes the need to upgrade equipment to use the latest technology.

Rep. Chris Fugate, R-Perry, a retired Kentucky state trooper, spoke in favor of the bill. He said he first worked as an emergency dispatcher before becoming a trooper.

“Long before a trooper is dispatched or an ambulance is dispatched or anyone else is dispatched, there is a call center that takes these calls,” Fugate said. “A lot of times the unsung heroes of law enforcement and EMS services are the dispatchers who take calls all hours of the day. So I’m for this.”

HB 208 passed 93-1. It now goes to the Senate. Call or text your state senator today, and ask them to support HB 208.

The legislative message line is 800-372-7181 and also is an effective way to have your voice counted. It is open to take your message from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. EST Mondays through Thursdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Messages, known for being documented on pink sheets of paper, are counted by legislators and often referenced among reasons for their vote.

Kentucky Association of Counties
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