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house Bill H.R. 582

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.

Loraki's Opinion
···
01/22/2017
Yes! Absolutely! If it saves one life, I'd say it's worth it. So would you, if the life it saved was yours or a loved one's.
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SarahLynn's Opinion
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01/23/2017
Seems pretty self explanatory. If one is in a panic and needs to contact emergency services, one probably isn't going to realize that one needs to dial an extra number before 911. We've been conditioned since childhood that no matter what the numbers are 911, so why not make it a reality?
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CoreyPowers's Opinion
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01/23/2017
The argument that free market economics should correct this issue without government intervention is off base. While many hotels and establishments already enable calling 911 without an extra digit, some don't and wouldn't have a reason to if they hadn't already. This bill also directs phone manufacturers and suppliers to enable such systems where they might not already. This bill will save lives and won't restrict free market economics in the process so should be a no brainer
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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.

TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
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01/23/2017
It's actually a great idea. But here's the thing about great ideas - they don't need to be mandated. How about everyone who thinks this is a good idea only does business with hotels that do this? I bet the others will catch on very quickly. Look! No law required! Good ideas don't require force.
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Anna's Opinion
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01/23/2017
Hotels and similar business should already have these features in place without having it mandated by the government.
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Joe's Opinion
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01/23/2017
People - we don't need congress for this. Just individually boycott hotels that don't provide this service if u want.
Like (26)
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bill Progress


  • EnactedFebruary 16th, 2018
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed February 5th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed January 24th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 408 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
    IntroducedJanuary 17th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 582?

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.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 582

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

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 offered the following statement when he introduced this bill during the last session of Congress:

“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. 

Media:

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

AKA

Kari's Law Act of 2017

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.

    Yes! Absolutely! If it saves one life, I'd say it's worth it. So would you, if the life it saved was yours or a loved one's.
    Like (181)
    Follow
    Share
    It's actually a great idea. But here's the thing about great ideas - they don't need to be mandated. How about everyone who thinks this is a good idea only does business with hotels that do this? I bet the others will catch on very quickly. Look! No law required! Good ideas don't require force.
    Like (72)
    Follow
    Share
    Seems pretty self explanatory. If one is in a panic and needs to contact emergency services, one probably isn't going to realize that one needs to dial an extra number before 911. We've been conditioned since childhood that no matter what the numbers are 911, so why not make it a reality?
    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
    Hotels and similar business should already have these features in place without having it mandated by the government.
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    People - we don't need congress for this. Just individually boycott hotels that don't provide this service if u want.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    The argument that free market economics should correct this issue without government intervention is off base. While many hotels and establishments already enable calling 911 without an extra digit, some don't and wouldn't have a reason to if they hadn't already. This bill also directs phone manufacturers and suppliers to enable such systems where they might not already. This bill will save lives and won't restrict free market economics in the process so should be a no brainer
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a common sense change for public safety that I strongly support.
    Like (20)
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    Extra dial out numbers increases the risk of not being able to call for assistance in an emergency.
    Like (13)
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    A call for help should not be made more difficult than necessary.
    Like (8)
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    The faster you can get emergency services to you the better chance you have. Every second counts!
    Like (8)
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    I think this is important but not something that needs a law regulating it. I get nervous about over regulation and I'd like to stay focused on more big picture items.
    Like (7)
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    This only makes sense on the war against human trafficking.
    Like (6)
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    This is a very simple step to help protect public safety
    Like (6)
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    Encourage hotels to make this change themselves, without mandating it.
    Like (6)
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    Of course. It is a safety issue
    Like (6)
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    911 & e911 services need to be updated, period. It shouldn't take horror stories or tragedies to get us to enact common sense updates to the system. You, too, could need 911/e911's services in your life.
    Like (5)
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    This makes sense. I am surprised the hotel companies have not already complied prior to this bill being introduced
    Like (5)
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    This is a major safety need! If younger children have to call 911 for their parent(s), they won't know to dial an extra number. During a true emergency, you run on autopilot, 911 is everyone's automatic response (without adding a number to get out of the house system).
    Like (5)
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    No brainer.
    Like (5)
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    Creating a national mandate and ensuring consistency across all means of telephonic communication is a common sense, low hanging fruit, that can help enhance individual and civil safety. This is a no-brainer, common sense, good bill that helps the American citizen and foreign tourists alike.
    Like (4)
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