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house Bill H.R. 4167

Kari's Law: Making it Easier to Call 911 From a Hotel Room

Argument in favor

Calling emergency services should be as simple as possible. Children — and panicking adults — should be able to pick up the nearest phone and dial 911, without any extra digits.

David's Opinion
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06/02/2016
The 911 system works because it is uniform throughout the country. Emergency situations often call for instinctive reactions. Remembering to dial an extra 9, especially for children, has been shown difficult in the face of imminent danger. Any cost increases will simply be passed on to patrons. This makes sense and falls within the federal government's role in both security and interstate commerce.
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operaman's Opinion
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05/25/2016
Sounds like a reasonable request. Time is important and setting a protocol that is standard across all platforms.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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06/12/2016
It should be easy no matter where you are, especially in a place such as a hotel room.
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Argument opposed

The intentions of this bill are noble, but hotels should introduce these upgrades themselves — without taking up precious Congressional voting time that should be spent on more pressing issues.

Lesia's Opinion
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05/25/2016
We can vote with our dollars and not stay at hotels that aren't safe. Isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work?
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Christopher's Opinion
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05/25/2016
It should be up to the hotel and the phone company to fix this problem.
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Burnetta's Opinion
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05/25/2016
It should be up to the hotels to implement this service. They get the rates for their rooms they should be responsible financially. Why do all millionaires expect the the taxpayer to always pay the bills they get the profits, we get the shitty end of the stick. Just my opinion
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed May 23rd, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Communications and Technology
    IntroducedDecember 3rd, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 4167?

Kari's Law would require multi-line telephone systems (such as in hotels and offices) to allow users to directly call 911 emergency services without dialing any additional “digit, code, prefix, or post-fix.”

The bill would affect anyone who manufactures, imports, sells, leases, or installs multi-line telephone systems. At every step of the way, the legislation would require phone systems to be designed and configured to allow direct calls to 911. Even if a system usually requires an additional digit to make outgoing calls (such as a leading 9), 9-1-1 would need to be dial-able directly.

Additionally, the bill would require multi-line phone systems to be configured in a way that notifies onsite personnel when anyone in the facility calls 911 — as long as the system is capable of such a feature.

The legislation would apply to multi-line telephone systems that are manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed, starting two years after enactment. Failure to adhere to this law would be punishable by fine.

Impact

People and companies that manufacture, import, sell, lease, or install multi-line telephone systems; Hotel owners and management; People who may find themselves in an emergency situation in a hotel.

More Information

In Depth: This bill is named for Kari Hunt, who was stabbed to death by her estranged husband in a hotel room in Texas in 2013. Her 9-year-old daughter attempted to call 911 four times during the incident, but was thwarted by the phone system, which required an additional digit to establish a call.

Hunt’s father, Hank, led the charge for this bill, as well as a similar Kari’s Law that was signed in Texas in May 2015.

Sponsoring Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said in a statement:

“It is clear that our 9-1-1 system failed in a time of need. No longer should a child, or anyone for that matter, pick up the phone to call for help and get nothing…While this legislation will not reverse the heartbreaking loss of Kari and all the horrors of that day, hopefully, her legacy will safeguard others – so they may never experience a situation of this magnitude.”


Of Note: A Change.org petition in favor of the bill gained 550,000 signatures.

At the request of Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai, the American Hotel and Lodging Association formed a task force to look into the issue. The task force conducted a survey of its members’ hotels, ultimately finding that direct calls to 911 are possible in 45 percent of franchised establishments and 32 percent of independently owned hotels. 

Summary by Katie Rose Quandt
(Image Credit: Flickr user Drew Saunders)

AKA

Kari's Law Act of 2016

Official Title

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require multi-line telephone systems to have a configuration that permits users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, and for other purposes.

    The 911 system works because it is uniform throughout the country. Emergency situations often call for instinctive reactions. Remembering to dial an extra 9, especially for children, has been shown difficult in the face of imminent danger. Any cost increases will simply be passed on to patrons. This makes sense and falls within the federal government's role in both security and interstate commerce.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    We can vote with our dollars and not stay at hotels that aren't safe. Isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work?
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    Sounds like a reasonable request. Time is important and setting a protocol that is standard across all platforms.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    It should be up to the hotel and the phone company to fix this problem.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    It should be easy no matter where you are, especially in a place such as a hotel room.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    It should be up to the hotels to implement this service. They get the rates for their rooms they should be responsible financially. Why do all millionaires expect the the taxpayer to always pay the bills they get the profits, we get the shitty end of the stick. Just my opinion
    Like (5)
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    Yes! Emergencies can confuse children & adults and need to be facilitated. The con argument is laughable for a group of people making $172,000 who take time vote on things like National Square Dance Week & whether or not to condemn terrorism. Give me a break. Congress specializes in wasting time & tax payer money while raking in as much graft $$$ as possible by selling votes to lobbying groups. Do something useful! Or do the Koch brothers & Jesus oppose making 911 calls easy?
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    How about congress voting on a budget and a supreme court nominee? This is something hotel chain should provide without it being made a law.
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    Anyone who picks up a phone should be able to dial 9-1-1. It simply isn't good enough or me that 45% of franchise hotels and 32% of independent hotels allow 9-1-1 without extra digits. We need to do better for the sake of everyone's safety.
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    When I notice this bill I see a influential opportunity for a extremely simple task by reasonable leadership for individuals of all kinds. Additionally, by passing this proposal would lead us to a dirt cheap costing implementation for a wide spread change in reliable resources of technology (specifically telecommunications). Not intensionally making a offense remark, but young children mainly toddlers or the elderly have evidently (according statistics) are unfamiliar with our resourceful and technological matters that surround us everyday. In hotels/motels especially may contain tele-communicative phones that are extremely a hindering factor for alleviating emergencies! An issue with wifi may make a powerful justification that when not having the ability to utilize a cell phone may make the argument that it behooves the citizens responsible for communicative devices at hotel/motel rooms make more accessible for emergencies as well. This ratification of this bill should clearly not be an ordeal due to the valid points I have discussed above and its self explanatory influence to alleviate emergencies that much faster. This bill would symbolize a helpful tool of leverage for crucial incidents especially for individuals that are mentally disabled, very young children, and the elderly. If this bill were to be implemented its contingency will be a exercise for hotels to conduct to save lives and prevent future negative incidents. Hotel/ motel market agencies may have a higher reputation due to their behalf of improving the use of telecommunications for a safer societies. I SEE OPPORTUNITIES JUST BY MAKING JUST A SIMPLE IMPLEMENTATION TO THRIVE OUR SOCIETY MORE, AND YOU SHOULD AS WELL. "Success is simple.Do what's right, the right way, at the right time"- Arnold H. Glasow Thank you for your time to hear my ideology of establishing innovative technology.
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    I support this measure. Anyone should be able to easily call 911 in order to be more safe. Why don't hotels do this already?
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    Are you freaking kidding me? How is this a debate? How is it not already the law!!!!
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    Provides easier help for those in need
    Like (1)
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    EMS isn't something you think about until you need it. People aren't going to " vote with their money" like others are suggesting. When you dial 911 you expect it to work, and it should.
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    I think it would make people feel safer in a hotel.
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    Sure, why not. The police response time to dire emergency is horrible already. They will probably find a crime scene instead of actually being able to save someone's life. I would rather depend on the fire department who gets to the location of trouble faster than the police every time.
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    Not just hotels. If I want to call 911 at work I have to dial 9911. That extra 9 could mean I fail to get through in time.
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    Yes
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    Dialing 911 needs to be easy and simple everywhere you go. Life doesn't pause for you to hit that extra couple of numbers on the phone. It needs to be quick.
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    This is for Hotels and Motels to work out! It's a business decision or for local ordinances to require not the federal government. If the federal government gets involved you can be sure it will get screwed up.
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