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Politics

Governor Parson Signs Two Bills on Public Safety into Law

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Claire Kidwell
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KSMU

Governor Mike Parson signed legislation into law Friday in Springfield concerning emergency medical services and 911 emergency communication services.

Many representatives of emergency response services across the state as well as lawmakers who pushed for their passage in the Missouri Legislature were at the Greene County Public Safety Center to witness the signing of the bills.

Springfield Greene County 911 Emergency Communications Director Zim Schwartze said that this new legislation, specifically HB 1456, will allow 911 centers across the state to improve their training and technology to help more citizens.

“Missouri is currently the only state that does not collect a tax or fees on wireless devices, yet over 80% of 911 calls in our state now come from wireless devices.

Now, each county can choose to implement a tax on any device that can contact 911, including wireless phones. This tax will replace the 911 funding currently in place within that county.

District 032 representative, Jeanie Lauer, worked for six years on HB 1456 and was present to see it signed into law.

“We want the state as a whole to be modernized and to be at the level that we should all expect and we all deserve, and is required by the constitution of Missouri.”

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Credit Claire Kidwell / KSMU
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KSMU
CoxHealth's Emergency Medical Services Director Mark Alexander speaks with Director Zim Schwartze, Representative Jeanie Lauer, and Governor Mike Parson standing behind him

The other bill, SB 870, modifies 15 provisions of state law concerning emergency medical services, including training, treatment protocols, and the creation of the position of State EMS Medical Director.

Governor Parson, whose brother-in-law was an EMT and was killed on the job, emphasized how important these changes are, not only for emergency medical services personnel but also for their families.

The governor commended all public safety employees, and said these bills will help them to better do their jobs.

“That’s what I try to do as governor, that’s what Jeanie tries to do as a state representative, is to make sure that you have the tools you need to do your job. But at the end of the day it’s up to you to remember who you are, and that’s simply public servants.”