Kane County Emergency Communications and other emergency dispatch and public-safety organizations across the state are encouraging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1839 by July 1 or face a potential shutdown of 9-1-1 operations across the state.
KaneComm Director Dave Farris asked the Kane County Legislative Committee on Wednesday to support lobbying efforts for SB 1839, which aims to modernize Illinois’ 9-1-1 systems and telecommunications networks.
According to a fact sheet distributed by Farris and others, “SB 1839 will continue 9-1-1 service and improve it for Illinois citizens by reauthorizing 9-1-1 service, continuing reforms started in 2015 and establishing critical revenue to provide Illinois citizens with cutting edge 9-1-1 systems to better respond to emergency calls.”
The fact sheet goes on to say that state lawmakers and the governor must update the state’s 9-1-1 Act by June 30, 2017. Without an update:
- 9-1-1 service would be shut down.
- There would be no funding for 9-1-1 centers to operate.
- There would be no authorization for centers to provide 9-1-1 service.
SB 1839 provides revenue to modernize Illinois 9-1-1 systems and transition to Next Generation 9-1-1. Under the senate bill, 9-1-1 fees would move from $0.87 to $1.50 outside Chicago. The bill also provides authority for city of Chicago to increase the city’s 9-1-1 fee up to $5.
The surcharge hike in the Chicago fees is one of the sticking points.
In a May 29 letter to Statewide 9-1-1 Administrator Cindy Barbera-Brelle, Energy Policy Advisor Jason Heffley said the governor is likely to veto the bill because the surcharge increases would be “unacceptable.”
“The city of Chicago has already received two significant increases in the last four years,” Heffley said.
Heffley said nothing prohibits carriers from providing the 9-1-1 service if the Emergency Telephone System Act sunsets, and the state police will be able to continue to disperse monies to the local operators through the lapse period in August. However, no new surcharge money may be collected as of July 1, and the lack of monies being collected could impact local operators.
“The General Assembly should not put the 9-1-1 system at risk by sending the governor legislation with poison pills knowing full well he will not sign them into law,” Heffley said. “There is time left to send the governor a clean 9-1-1 bill prior to July 1.”
Kane County Emergency Communications (KaneComm) is a multi-jurisdictional dispatch center responsible for the deployment of several police, fire, and medical agencies located within Kane County. KaneComm personnel are tasked with all of the incoming emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance from citizens residing in these jurisdictions.
For more information, visit the KaneComm web page.
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