Hatfield is also chairman of the committee representing the Kentucky Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association that is heavily pushing for the bill's passage.
Hatfield said when someone purchases a pre-paid cell phone, the 70 cent surcharge is supposed to be collected and sent on to the state, which then disperses it to the CMRS board. But wireless companies have not been collecting the surcharges, and HB 656 provides for stricter legislation to enforce the collections, Hatfield said.
"If I purchase the pre-paid phone in Nicholasville, the wireless provider is supposed to collect that surcharge and the money is sent back to the state and then the CRMS Board. Then it comes back to the local centers, assessed by some complicated formula which I can't even explain," Hatfield said.
"Under our legislation, the formula would be simple. If you purchase the phone in Nicholasville, the money should come back to Nicholasville."
Hatfield said the bill also will create grants to fund new 911 programs or help existing centers upgrade their systems.
"Presently, there's no grant money available to dispatch centers, and there's 20-plus counties in Kentucky that are not enhanced (with computer-aided dispatch). This money would be earmarked for those counties," Hatfield said.
The bill also provides incentives for 911 centers consolidating operations to operate more effectively. Hatfield said when consolidating operations between counties, funding would be provided for the county losing its operation.
"There's really been no incentive to consolidate, and counties feel like they're penalized since they lose their CMRS funding," Hatfield said.
Boyle County's 911 operation could receive up to an additional $31,500, Hatfield said, if the bill passes.
As with most bills going through the legislature, there have been some pulls on it from different groups. Between Hatfield's group and the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, there are two somewhat varied formats of the bill.
The bill under Homeland's proposal suggests decreasing the monthly surcharge from 70 to 65 cents.
"But the legislation would still not decrease funding," said Jason Keller, chief public affairs officer for the Office of Homeland Security. "If the bill goes through as is, it would actually increase funding to local 911 centers by $6.5 million. We're aware that there are some differences between the two legislations, but overall we're pleased with it."
Keller said under the governor's plan, any centers wishing to consolidate will be given $100,000 in incentive each to help with equipment and other needs.
Homeland's version also would require that the CRMS board, which disperses the funding, to be composed completely of first responders, appointed by the governor's office. "We're fine with the decrease in the surcharge, and we compromised on this," Hatfield said. "But we want people on the board with some background of the technological advances of 911 call centers. That's why we want to keep the wireless providers on the board. And we don't want to compromise on that."
If the bill is successful, Hatfield said the increase in funding should be seen by July or shortly after.