Bills would impose 911 fee on prepaid cell phones

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina lawmakers want to add a surcharge to prepaid cell phones and Internet phone lines to help pay for local 911 service.

The House will take up its version of the bill in a Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee meeting on Tuesday. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee will take up a similar bill on Thursday.

Rep. Bill Sandifer is the lead sponsor on the House bill. The Seneca Republican said the bill would impose a flat fee on each prepaid wireless card and would charge phone companies providing service over the Internet the same as regular land lines.

The money goes to an advisory panel at the State Budget and Control Board, which divides it up according to a federal formula among counties and cities that provide 911 service.

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