New Legislation affecting Dialing 9-1-1
What is Kari’s Law?
The short answer: Direct access to 9-1-1 service from multi-line telephone systems.
For a multi-line telephone system that provides outbound dialing, Kari's Law requires direct access to 9-1-1 service without the user having to first dial an initial number, digit, prefix or other access number or code before dialing 9-1-1. On March 1, 2016 the Commission on State Emergency Communications adopted Rule 251.16 (Direct Access to 9-1-1 Service) to implement Kari’s Law.
Why a need for Kari’s Law?
The law represents a culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt who was attacked by her estranged husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas. Kari’s nine-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help four times from the motel room phone. Unfortunately, the call never went through, because she did not know to first dial “9” for an outbound line before dialing 9-1-1. Tragically, Kari died before help could arrive.
Since Kari’s death, her father, Hank Hunt, and his family have made it their mission to educate the public and elected officials across the country about the need to change multi-line phone systems to provide direct access to 9-1-1. Their concerns were heard by representatives of the Texas 9-1-1 authorities, elected officials in Texas, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
What does Kari’s Law mean for the public?
On May 15, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 788, also known as Kari’s Law, which requires for a multi-line telephone system (MLTS) that provides outbound dialing, to have direct access to 9-1-1 service without the user having to first dial an initial number, digit, prefix or other access number or code before dialing 9-1-1.
Compliance with Kari’s Law is required by September 1, 2016. Currently, Illinois, Maryland, Texas and Tennessee have all passed similar legislation.
With Kari’s Law, the goal is to ensure that anyone who dials 9-1-1 for help can get through to 9-1-1 when they need it the most. Here is what you need to know regarding the new law:
• Business service users are required to configure the telephone system or equivalent to allow a person to directly dial 9-1-1 without requiring an additional code or prefix.
We do not want any more tragic events to take place and we need your help to comply with the new law and ensure that this issue is resolved. I have enclosed a pamphlet that explains the issues regarding MLTS and how you can help resolve this issue or visit: http://texas911.org/karislaw
By working together, we can ensure that those who utilize your MLTS phone system will be able to reach 9-1-1 by dialing only those three numbers. Read Kari’s Law on the Texas Legislature website.
Watch a PSA about Kari’s Law.
A comprehensive list of FAQs.