Bill to extend 911 fees to individuals who buy phone minutes passes House committee

03/22/2016 03:20 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would require persons who buy phone minutes at a retail store to pay an additional fee for 911 calls has unanimously passed a House committee.

House Bill 585 sponsored by Rep. Martha Jane King, D-Lewisburg, would require individuals who buy phone cards at retail establishments to pay a 93 cent fee which would go to fund the facilities, equipment, and personnel needed for 911 call exchanges.

Currently, persons who own a landline or have a contract with a cell phone carrier pay 70 cents per month that goes for funding 911 call facilities, while people who buy phone minutes do not pay the fee.

Because, people generally tend to buy phone minutes nine times a year, the 93 cent fee was determined to be in line with the 70 cents per month that contract and landline customers pay.

Current contract and landline customers will see no increase in 911 fees as a result of the legislation. The bill has been brought in recent sessions to point out the disparity in funding which negatively impacts local municipalities.

King told committee members that the bill was about having everyone pay their fair share for 911 access.

“What this bill does, it places the 911 fee equal and fair to everyone,” King said. “When someone goes to a retailer to buy, that 911 fee will be collected by the retailer and remitted to the state just like they do on state taxes or any of the taxes that they remit.”

Shannon Stiglitz of the Kentucky Retail Federation says that her organizations concern is shifting the collection cost to the point of sale and the problems which it might create.

“Currently, you have the carriers collecting that fee, paying that fee, and shifting it to the retailer, means you’re going to take a very streamlined collection process and make it very un-streamlined because you’re going to be collecting from hundreds of retailers in Kentucky.”

House Bill 585 now moves to the House chamber for consideration.


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