Senate approves Kari’s Law Act of 2017 clearing way for bill to - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

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Senate approves Kari’s Law Act of 2017 clearing way for bill to head to White House

Kari Hunt (Source: Family) Kari Hunt (Source: Family)
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

U.S. Senators voted unanimously on Thursday in support of Kari’s Law Act of 2017. 

Kari’s Law Act of 2017 requires businesses using multi-line telephone systems to provide callers with direct access to 911, rather than first dialing a digit to access an outside line.

“The Senate’s passage of these bipartisan bills brings us a step closer to increasing access to spectrum that powers our 21st century tech economy, improving the quality and reliability of phone calls in rural communities, removing barriers to dialing 911 in emergencies, and cutting inefficiencies in federal bureaucracy,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D), one of the sponsors of the bill. 

The legislation is named for Kari Hunt, a 31-year-old mother who was murdered by her estranged husband in the bathroom of a Marshall hotel. The couple’s daughter, then 9 years old, tried dialing 911 four times from the hotel room, but the call did not connect due to the extra digit required to reach an outside line. 

Differences between the bills passed in the U.S. House and Senate will be hammered out by a bipartisan committee before being placed on President Donald Trump’s desk for final approval.

If signed by the president, Kari’s Law would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to allow direct dialing of 911 for emergency services without changing current dialing patterns that include the extra digit.

Changes would be required to be in place within two years of the date of enactment. The Federal Communications Commission is tasked with enforcement for those failing to comply with the law.

The bill was sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Cornyn, (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). A similar bill sponsored by U.S Representative Louis Gohmert passed the House in January.

The state law went into effect in 2016 but businesses had until Sept. 1, 2017, to comply. Texas businesses must be compliant or request a waiver by Sept. 1.

READ MORE:
+Kari's Law filed in U.S. Senate
+Gov. Abbott signs Kari's Law with namesake's family by his side
+Kari's Law passes in the U.S. House of Representatives, moves on to Senate
+Kari's Law re-filed in U.S. House, Senate
+Kari's Law takes effect in Texas; 911 access to change for businesses

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