Kari’s Law reported to House and Senate for vote
The Kari’s Law Act bill, which would require direct dialing for 911 calls made on multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) frequently used by hotels, offices and other enterprises, is headed to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for approval.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) sponsored the House bill, which was first introduced in December 2015. It was forwarded from the Communications and Technology Subcommittee to the Energy and Commerce Committee on April 19.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) advocated for an amendment that would have required additional location-based technology to be implemented by MLTS users, but those provisions ultimately were not added to the bill, which was reported to the House on April 28.
Senators Deb Fischer (D-Neb.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the Kari’s Law Act bill in the Senate Commerce Committee in February 2016, and it passed to the Senate on April 27, according to a news release from Sen. Fischer’s office.
The namesake of the bill is Kari Hunt, whose estranged husband murdered her in a Texas hotel room in December 2013. While the murder took place, Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried calling 911 four times. Because the youngster didn’t know that the hotel required a prefix to be dialed to get an outside line, the call never went through.
Since then, Kari’s father Hank Hunt has advocated for legislation to eliminate prefixes and suffixes for 911 calls made on MLTSs. A version of Kari’s Law has been passed in Suffolk County, N.Y., Illinois, Maryland, Texas and Tennessee. Similar legislation is being considered in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
The federal bill requires organizations installing the systems to configure them such that they notify a central location at the facility when a 911 call is being made. The bill would apply to all MLTS deployments that are manufactured, sold, leased or installed two years after its passage.
Dates have not been set for the House or Senate to vote on the bill.