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*** UPDATED x1 *** 911 call center deadline ensnared by Statehouse war

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

*** UPDATE ***  The bill passed with 81 votes, so a whole lot of House Republicans broke with Gov. Rauner.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Fox St. Louis from May 26th

Over 200,000 911 calls come into St. Clair County dispatch centers every year, according to Herb Simmons, the executive director of the Emergency Telephone System Board of St. Clair County.

Simmons said the legislation that currently funds the 911 systems is set to expire on June 30, meaning on July 1 people in Illinois could be without a 911 system.

Simmons said if the bill expires, call centers would be left without money for basic operations like electricity and the phone bill.

Although the 911 bill doesn’t expire until the end of June, the legislative session ends May 31, so lawmakers have to come up with something before they leave Springfield on Wednesday.

“I just hope somebody can come to their senses and say the state of Illinois has to have a 911 system up and operating at its full capacity because when people need it they deserve it,” Simmons said.

* Instead of just simply extending the sunset date, the House Democrats combined it with increased mobile phone taxes and AT&T’s bill to get out of the state mandate to provide old-style copper wire service. The tax in Chicago would rise from $3.90 to $5 per phone. Everyone else’s bills would rise increase to $1.50 from 87 cents.

The governor was not amused

Emergency dispatchers, phone companies, and lawmakers from both parties were in agreement. The fee on cell phone bills needed to increase — to keep 911 services going and to add new technology mandated by Illinois.

Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, says he was not part of the talks, but he was ready to lend his support when talks broke down.

“My understanding of where it bogged down was this notion that there were perhaps disagreement between the City of Chicago and others,” Hays said.

Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, says the “others” was the governor’s office — and industry members in the negotiations say that was indeed the reason the agreement disappeared.

The nixed deal involved letting Chicago increase its fee per phone from $3.90 to $5. All other cell phone bills in the state would see an increase of $1.50 from 87 cents.

“Evidently the way I’m understanding is that the governor pretty much pulled the Republicans and said ‘We don’t want to give Mayor Emanuel any more money,’” Phelps said.

Phelps is right. That’s what happened.

But by yesterday afternoon the Democrats decided to go ahead anyway and moved an amendment out of the Executive Committee with the AT&T language, the 911 sunset date extension and the tax hikes. Two Republicans voted with the Democrats, Hays and Rep. Reis.

Stay tuned.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Texas Red - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    Another hostage turned into a political bargaining chip by the clever Dems. And they complain about Rauner’s TA !

  2. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    Bruce Rauner and his family doesn’t have to dial 911, therefore it is not needed just like state universities, and social services.

  3. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:36 pm:

    This feels like the Thompson Center weirdness. Rauner has a good compromise in front of him, but doesn’t recognize it because he’s blinded by his fear and loathing of Chicago.

    Chicago never seemed to bother him when his business was headquartered here, making him millions, some of which he gave to Mayor Daley and even to Rahm. What happened that made him hate the city he used to love? Why would a Governor go out of his way to stick it to the primary economic engine of the state, the capitol of the Midwest, the one thing that makes Illinois better than Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa or Missouri?

    It’s very weird.

  4. - pawn - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    Does the Governor do anything positive at all ever? I am having a hard time seeing it.

  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    The Rauner repugnant, serial ‘thumbs up’ -in his mind - is saying ‘this is the thumb I stick in every eye I can. heh,heh…’.

  6. - I'm Rauner's evil twin - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    @ Texas Red. I don’t think you have been following along very closely. It’s the Governor’s Turn Around Agenda, with all of its non-budget items, that is holding things up. If there is a stoppage in 911 service, this is on Rauner. Completely.

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:55 pm:

    –“Evidently the way I’m understanding is that the governor pretty much pulled the Republicans and said ‘We don’t want to give Mayor Emanuel any more money,’” Phelps said.–

    You put 911 service at risk for these petulant kid games?

    Don’t you wish this guy would have bought a boat to mess with in his dotage? He could have worn a skipper’s hat and everything.

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    –Another hostage turned into a political bargaining chip by the clever Dems.–

    LOL, seriously, do you even read what you write before hitting “send?”

    Give it another look and a think this time.

  9. - Texas Red - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    House Dems - you want an ambulance or Police cruiser to help you ? give us telecom taxes

  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 1:19 pm:

    How is it ok to take away the most reliable form to communicate with 911 (traditional land lines) until advanced 911 is up and running all over the state? And if you read the bill big utility companies get to keep their landlines until 2021-2022, but the consumers/ratepayers get thrown under the bus!!! And pay more while getting run over!

  11. - scott aster - Wednesday, May 31, 17 @ 4:40 pm:

    Maybe “47th ward” should look at all the NEW taxes that people in chicago are tired of hearing about from the city,county,cps, and whoever else wants a piece. And people wonder why the population is down.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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