A Wyoming legislative committee has endorsed adding a 50-cent charge to monthly phone bills to support emergency communications.

The fees would help fund the state's WyoLink communications system used by local, state and federal agencies during emergencies.

The Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee voted 9-5 Thursday to advance the bill for possible consideration by the full Legislature this winter.

Wyoming has invested roughly $120 million in the system to date and upkeep costs $5.5 million annually.

Under the bill,  the Wyoming Department of Transportation, state general fund and fees from phone bills would each cover part of the upkeep.

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