Last year I wrote about how the FCC was listening to calls (no pun intended) to bring Kari’s Law to the national spotlight and strongly encourage major hotel operators to update their phone systems to eliminate the need to dial 9 before getting an outside line for 9-1-1 emergency communications.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai sent a letter in January 2014 to the CEOs of the ten largest hotel chains in the U.S. asking the companies for data on the properties at which consumers would reach help by dialing 911. The results were… a start.
Now, we again see lawmakers attempting to take the Texas-based law to a federal level with the introduction of H.R.4167 – Kari’s Law Act of 2015. The Texas law was named after Kari Hunt, an East Texas woman who was stabbed to death by her estranged husband while her 9-year-old daughter could not get through to 9-1-1 operators because she did not know of she had to dial 9 first to get an outside line.
The proposed law would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to have phones configured to directly “initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix or post-fix.”
The Act would also require on-site notification for facilities with multi-line telephone systems. That feature would notify a certain person, like a receptionist, when 9-1-1 is dialed. The call would still go through to the designated 9-1-1 dispatch center, but the designated person would be notified there is an emergency in the building and where 9-1-1 was dialed.
Here is U.S. House Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) introducing “The Kari’s Law Act of 2015” in the U.S. House of Representatives:
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