(The Center Square) — Two Ohio lawmakers want to use a current surcharge on cellphone service and a surcharge on other wireless services to build and maintain an updated, nationwide 911 system. State.
House Bill 445 would use the state’s 25-cent monthly wireless service surcharge and extend it to all devices or services capable of calling 911, including those involving landline and voice-over-internet services. Half of the revenue would go towards establishing the new 911 system, and the other half would help counties with upgrades to be able to integrate with the new system and fund the system.
“The world of telephones has fundamentally changed over the past 50 years, leaving our country’s 9-1-1 infrastructure very obsolete,” said Rep. Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Township. “Over the past decade, we’ve almost completely transitioned to smartphones, which means less than 1 in 5 911 calls come from landlines. The enhanced 911 is a partial evolution to a mobile-centric world, but the 911 still does not support smartphones.
Ohio has one of the lowest wireless tax, fee and surcharge rates in the country, at 8.52%, according to a report by the Tax Foundation. Only 10 states have lower rates.
THERE WILL BE FIREWORKS
Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill earlier this week that allows Ohioans to shoot commercial-grade fireworks on certain holidays. The bill, which was amended after DeWine previously vetoed a similar bill, reduced the number of holidays and added additional safety measures for retailers.
“Amended Substitute House Bill 172 is a better bill than Senate Bill 113, which was the original fireworks bill that I vetoed,” said said DeWine. “Because it was clear to me that the Legislature would have overridden my veto, making Senate Bill 113 law, I worked with the General Assembly to come to a compromise that included the changes I wanted to see in the legislation.
When the bill goes into effect on July 1, Ohioans will be able to set off fireworks on New Year’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; June 19; July 3, 4, 5 and the preceding and following Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; Labor Day weekend; and Diwali.
Local governments can still enact laws to ban fireworks in communities.