‘A lifelong commitment:’ Awareness of Kari’s Law continues after passing in 2018

‘A lifelong commitment:’ Awareness of Kari’s Law continues after passing in 2018
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 10:38 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - It’s been five years since Kari’s Law, which is a law requiring businesses and organizations to have phone systems capable of dialing 911 directly without having to dial a number to get an outside line first, passed. The murder that sparked the legislation happened in East Texas.

Kari’s Law was proposed after a 2013 tragedy in a Marshall hotel room. Kari Hunt was murdered by her estranged husband. Her nine-year-old daughter dialed 911 just like she had been taught. But she didn’t know she had to dial another number first to get an outside line. She tried four times, but the call went nowhere.

Since then, people have come together to prevent this from happening again, turning legislation into a law. It was passed in 2018.

“A life was lost then and so it’s a very important thing that it could happen to anyone.” said Manny Cruz, Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council Executive Director.

They are located in deep south Texas. Cruz and his district continue to spread awareness to this day and make sure all systems are compliant with Kari’s law.

“Because it’s not just a one-time thing. It’s a lifelong commitment. We have family everywhere. People work at different fields, different offices and some people might not be aware that that law exists or the details of the law,” said Cruz.

As a part of their campaign, they conduct site visits on their dispatcher points. A similar law also requires organizations to transmit an accurate location when 9-1-1 is dialed.

They caught a certain situation at an ISD.

“We went to a campus, dialed 9-1-1, and a dispatcher saw the admin building which was completely at a different location. The same city but a different location all together. That is why we continue to promote the campaign.”

And here in Smith County, 9-1-1 District Network has rolled out a new feature where you can text 9-1-1 instead of calling. No extension is needed.

“Especially in light of school shootings, domestic violence, you can now text 9-1-1. Not have to speak. Not have to, you know, hear a phone ring back.” said Smith County 911 Network District Director, William Morales.

Kari Hunt’s daughter was there as then-president Donald Trump signed Kari’s Law in 2018.


+ Husband pleads guilty in hotel stabbing death of Marshall woman

+ Kari’s Law: Father of victim discusses long journey to see bill become law

+ ‘Kari’s Law’ back in court as family seeks damages against hotel chain, murderer

+ More details revealed in sentencing hearing for ‘Kari’s Law’ trial

+ E. Texas murderer: ‘I thought I only stabbed her once’