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Bipartisan Bill Would Modernize 911 Services Across Ohio

 Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) stand in the Statehouse Atrium.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) stand in the Statehouse Atrium.

Lawmakers in the Ohio House are pushing for a bill that would overhaul 911 systems around the state by integrating it with new technologies.

They said the bipartisan legislation will speed up response times when time is critical.

The bill, HB445, from Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) and Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) would revamp 911 technology using an expanded surcharge on telecommunication bills.

The new system would allow responders to track a caller's location using their cell phone and make it possible to text an emergency to 911.

"When seconds count, all Ohioans deserve equitable, reliable state of the art, access to emergency services," Carfagna said.

The bill would attach a $0.25 surcharge to monthly telecommunication bills, such as landlines. This is a charge that is already occurring on cell phone bills.

The legislation has had three hearings in the House. Carfagna and Smith hope this will see more momentum at the start of the new year.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.