In front of a crowd of emergency personnel, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed two pieces of long-awaited legislation into law Friday morning at the Greene County Public Safety Center, 330 W. Scott Street.
SB 870 is a bill that modifies 15 provisions of state law related to emergency medical services, including: new positions, mutual aid, training, treatment protocols, records and patient rights.
“The provisions in SB 870 will allow for the ability to create a State EMS Medical Director,” said CoxHealth’s Emergency Medical Services Director Mark Alexander. “The State of Missouri does not currently have this type of role, so this will bring us up to par with other states in the country.”
SB 870 will also allow Missouri to become a member state of the “Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact,” a network of states that allows the privilege to practice emergency medical services across state lines.
“The inclusion of the EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact will greatly impact our day-to-day operations. This provision will allow Missouri emergency medical personnel to operate in neighboring states, allowing us to assist in emergency medical services across state lines and, also, for other states to help us when needed,” said Alexander.
HB 1456 contains legislation that will bring changes to the laws regarding 911 emergency communication services in Missouri. Each county can choose to implement a tax on any device that can contact 911, including wireless phones. This tax would replace 911 funding currently in place in that county. Counties that have 911 funding can choose this funding method instead of one of the two previous methods of funding 911. The approval of this 911 wireless phone tax bill will help fund the need for updated and enhanced technology to help modernize Missouri’s 911 system.
“Missouri does not have any law or policy involving the use of a 911 cell phone tax,” said Springfield-Greene County 911 Emergency Communications Director Zim Schwartze. “Over 80 percent of incoming 911 calls are from a wireless device. It would also allow 911 centers across the State of Missouri to improve our technology and training so they can better serve our citizens.”
Schwartze and J.R. Webb, assistant director, Springfield-Greene County 911 Emergency Communications Department, were involved in the legislative task force assigned by three statewide 911 organizations’ presidents to work on drafting the proposed 911 emergency communications legislation this year. Those statewide organizations are the Missouri 911 Director’s Association, The Missouri Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association and The Missouri Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials.
“We attended several hearings and committee meetings on behalf of the statewide organizations during this entire process as the bill was introduced, passed through the House and eventually through the Senate,” said Schwartze.
The Greene County Public Safety Center provides a fitting location for the signing of these bills. It is the focal point of coordination for city and county response and recovery efforts during major disasters and emergencies through the use of its state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center and, when activated, the Regional Multi-Agency Coordination Center. The PSC is home to the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management, the Springfield-Greene County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office Training Division and the Greene County IT Network Services team.