Legislation to extend Maryland’s current 9-1-1 surcharge to prepaid wireless phone services was voted favorably on March 28 in the Health and Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Operations. The additional revenue gained by applying a fee comparable to that paid by all other phone users would be used to help fund county 9-1-1 operation centers. From MACo’s supporting testimony:
Generally, users of devices that may access the 9-1-1 system are assessed a charge to support these systems. However, the current charge does not apply to users of prepaid wireless telephone service, essentially because State law applies the charge to a monthly bill, without a clear application to one-time payments without regular monthly billing intervals. MACo believes SB 745 outlines a reasonable approach for extending this surcharge to all individuals who benefit from these important services.
SB 745 has already passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote by the full House Health and Government Operations Committee. With the positive vote from the subcommittee, the bill should receive consideration before the full committee in the coming days.