U.S. Senate committee recommends passage of Kari's Law, vote wil - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

U.S. Senate committee recommends passage of Kari's Law, vote will not happen Tuesday

Kari Rene Hunt (Source: Family) Kari Rene Hunt (Source: Family)
(KLTV) -

Legislation named for a woman murdered in a Marshall hotel could have passed the U.S. Senate today after a favorable recommendation was returned Monday by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. However, the vote will not happen, at least for Tuesday, as the health care bill took over the day. 

Kari’s Law Act of 2017 requires public buildings to provide direct access to 911, rather than requiring an extra digit to reach an outside line. Its namesake, Kari Hunt, was murdered by her estranged husband in the bathroom of a Marshall hotel in December 2013. As the murder was taking place, Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter dialed 9-1-1 four times from the hotel room but did not know that the extra digit was required to complete the call.

The call never went through.

Since Kari’s death, her father Hank Hunt has made it his mission to educate the public and elected officials about the need to change all phones to allow direct calls to 9-1-1, without having to first push a digit to access an outside line.

“I made a promise to my granddaughter it would never happen again, to anybody,” Hunt said “I look forward to telling her ‘we got it done,’ “Hunt said, his voice breaking.

Today, he is monitoring a livestream of the U.S. Senate floor from his cellphone.

“I never dreamed this would happen in my lifetime. I figured I’d go to my grave and someone else would have to take over to get this passed,” said Kari’s father, Hank Hunt, who is monitoring a livestream of the action on the U.S. Senate floor. “I’m going to stick with it until they get tired and go home.”

A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form, and then be signed by the President to become law. If the bill passes the Senate today, it would be sent back to the House where it would be melded with a similar version passed by the House in January. Then a single, final version would be sent to the White House for the president’s signature.

Currently, there is no federal mandate in place that requires phone lines to be configured to allow direct access to 911 from public buildings such as hotels, schools, and hospitals. As of March 2014, consumers could not directly dial 911 in 44.5 percent of hotel franchises and 32 percent of independent hotels, according to the report filed Monday by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

This legislation would amend the Communications Act of 1934, and would “apply with respect to a multi-line telephone system that is manufactured, imported, or offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after the date that is 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.”

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the bill in January. Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are cosponsors. The House of Representatives passed a similar version, sponsored by U.S Rep Louis Gohmert, in January.  

Brad Allen Dunn has served 2 of his 99 years in prison for the murder of Kari Hunt. He is eligible for parole in December 2043.

Related stories:

Kari's Law filed in U.S. Senate

U.S. House votes to approve Kari’s Law

Kari's Law, changing 911 access, goes into effect Sept. 1

Gov. Abbott signs Kari's Law with namesake's family by his side

Texas governor to sign Kari's Law

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