National version of "Kari's Law" passes Senate

February 06, 2018 - 2:07 pm

WASHINGTON (KJCE) -- Direct access to 9-1-1 on multiline telephone systems is one step closer to being law nationwide, after the U.S. Senate passed a national version of "Kari's Law" Tuesday.

The bill, which requires multi-line phone systems commonly found in offices and hotels to offer direct access to emergency services without having to dial a code for an outside line first, awaits final approval by the House and then will go to President Trump for his signature.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), an original co-sponsor of the bill, praised the bill's passage Tuesday morning. "With this simple change, we can help folks quickly reach the help they need in a crisis, saving seconds that could ultimately save lives," said Cornyn. "I thank my colleagues for their support and eagerly await the President’s signature on this critical piece of legislation."

The Texas Legislature passed a similar law that went into effect in 2016.

The law is named for Kari Hunt, who was killed in an East Texas hotel room in 2013. While Hunt was being stabbed to death by her estranged husband, her then 9-year old daughter tried several times to call 9-1-1 on the hotel's phone system, not knowing she needed to dial 9 to reach an outside line.

Hunt's husband, Brad Dunn, plead guilty to murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the crime.

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