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Bipartisan House bill would revamp 911 services across Ohio

Kent Smith and Rick Carfagna 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.

The changes could speed up emergency response times.

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 say 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," says Carfagna.

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.

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