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updated: 5/8/2014 4:20 PM

Senate approves plan to fund poison center with cellphone fees

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- State lawmakers have advanced a plan to keep the Illinois Poison Center from closing in a tight budget year.

The Illinois Senate approved the measure Thursday on a 43-13 vote. The legislation would divert money collected from cellphone fees to fund the center.

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The Illinois Poison Center is staffed by experts who give residents advice in poison emergencies. It has struggled with funding in recent years.

Democratic state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park has sponsored the proposal. He says the center prevents costly trips to the emergency room.

Opponents agree the center provides an important service. But they say the plan takes money away from a fund that's intended to upgrade 911 systems.

The measure moves to the House for consideration.

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