On May 15, 2015 Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 788, also known as Kari’s Law. This law requires direct dialing of 9-1-1 without the need for dialing an extra number or code to access an outside line. This new law took effect immediately, however, businesses had until September 1, 2016 to update their phone system or file for a waiver as required by the new law.
This law is a result of an incident that happened in 2013 in Marshall, Texas where a nine year old girl tried to call 9-1-1 from a hotel room as her mother, Kari Hunt, was being attacked by her estranged husband. Tragically, she was unable to reach the 9-1-1 call center because she did not know to dial a “9” first to get an outside line and her mother died. The Hunt family made it their mission to educate the public and elected officials across the country about the need to change phone systems at hotels and other businesses. H.R.4167 was introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives in December of 2015 and would amend the Communications Act of 1934. This would make it a national requirement, not just a Texas law.
We here at the Galveston County Emergency Communication District encourage your business to comply with this law as quickly as possible. If you need any additional information, please feel free to call our office at 409-935-3911. The website www.texas911.org also has more information and will have access to the waiver as soon as it is available.