Illinois emergency call centers could lose funding if lawmakers don’t act

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, IL (KPLR) - Illinois’ 911 system could shut down if lawmakers don’t agree on a plan to fund it before May 31.

Over 200,000 911 calls come into St. Clair County dispatch centers every year, according to Herb Simmons, the executive director of the Emergency Telephone System Board of St. Clair County.

Simmons said the legislation that currently funds the 911 systems is set to expire on June 30, meaning on July 1 people in Illinois could be without a 911 system.

Simmons said if the bill expires, call centers would be left without money for basic operations like electricity and the phone bill.

Although the 911 bill doesn’t expire until the end of June, the legislative session ends May 31, so lawmakers have to come up with something before they leave Springfield on Wednesday.

“I just hope somebody can come to their senses and say the state of Illinois has to have a 911 system up and operating at its full capacity because when people need it they deserve it,” Simmons said.

Governor Bruce Rauner could call lawmakers back for a special session after May 31 but Simmons doesn’t want to count on that.