On Tuesday, July 11th, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed Senate Bill 503 into law. This law is Missouri's first comprehensive 911 legislation in over 30 years.
Currently, there are very few areas in Missouri with text-to-911 services. Without these services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing people face barriers when trying to contact emergency responders for help.
Opeoluwa Sotonwa, the Executive Director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), testified at the bill hearing. He explained that the breakdown in 911 communication results in longer response times, which could ultimately be the difference between life and death.
Now that this new law has been approved, Missourians will be able to send electronic messages to 911 operators, including text messages, images, videos and data. The law requires a newly formed 911 Advisory Board to develop a plan and timeline to begin testing, implementing, and operating the next generation 911 system throughout the state of Missouri.