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Assembly approves phone bill fee to improve 911 system

June 18, 2019
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Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee urges lawmakers to approve a measure to raise fees on phones to pay for an upgrade to the 911 system during the Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, June 17, 2019. The Assembly approved the bill, SB96. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Assembly has voted to raise fees on phones to pay for an upgrade of the state’s 911 system.

It’s estimated to total about 34 cents on each bill and includes landlines and cellphones.

Republican Assemblyman Jay Obernolte says lawmakers should use some of the state’s budget surplus to pay for improving 911 services instead of raising fees.

Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith countered that while the state always has emergencies, it does not always have a surplus. She says 911 services need a reliable stream of funding.

Three Democrats in competitive districts voted against the fee. They are Assemblywomen Sharon Quirk-Silva and Cottie Petrie-Norris and Assemblyman Rudy Salas.

Quirk-Silva’s district overlaps with an Orange County Senate district where a lawmaker was recalled last year for passing a tax increase.

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