Pennsylvanians may soon be paying a larger monthly fee on their phone bills following state House passage on Monday of a measure designed to help counties fund their 911 emergency communications centers. The House voted 134-59 to increase to $1.65 a month a fee that currently ranges from $1 to $1.50. The legislation would still have to pass the Senate and get the governor's support. The county commissioners' association has sought a doubling in the fee, to $2. Supporters said counties are struggling with operational and technology costs. "This is public safety, this is lives on the line," said Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, a former police officer. But critics argued the money was not needed, and that current state revenues should be sufficient to pay the cost. "What is enough for emergency services? What is enough for any government services?" said Rep. Carl Metzgar, R-Somerset. "Our job is to draw the line, and I respectfully request that we draw it far lower." The vote did not break along party lines - both the Democratic and Republican caucuses were divided.
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