The Illinois General Assembly voted to increase a fee on cell phone bills in order to fund 911 services. It was a rare example of Republican lawmakers defying the Rauner administration.
Negotiators involved in the legislation say the governor tried to pull Republican support because Rauner did not want Mayor Rahm Emanuel to get a win.
But GOP lawmakers ended up voting for the measure, which includes a cell phone fee increase in Chicago.
State Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, says the attempt to fortify 911 service centers was going to fail because of “peripheral” reasons.
“And I suggested that I was not going to go home and tell the people in my community that when they dial 911, on the other end of the line it says, ‘Sorry this line has been disconnected,’ because the governor and the mayor of Chicago are in a wrestling match about something peripheral,” Hays said.
911 operators say the current cell phone fees were not generating enough money.
The legislation won broad bipartisan support. It’s part of a larger deal that would let AT&T phase out traditional landline phone service.
The governor’s office did not respond to an inquiry about Rauner’s position on the Chicago fee increase.