H.R. 4167, Kari’s Law Act of 2015

H.R. 4167

Kari’s Law Act of 2015

Date
May 23, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, May 23, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4167, the Kari’s Law Act of 2015, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4167 was introduced on December 3, 2015 by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.  The Committee on Energy and Committee ordered the bill reported, as amended, by voice vote on April 28, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4167 requires all Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) to have a default configuration that allows users to directly dial 9-1-1, without the need for additional digits or prefix, from any phone with dialing facilities. In addition, the MLTS must be configured to notify a designated central point of contact when someone initiates a call to 9-1-1 using the system.

 

Background

Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) serve multiple telephone users at a single site, often an office building, hotel, university campus, or similar locations. A common feature of MLTS is the configuration requiring a user to dial a digit or prefix to reach a number outside of the system – for example, dialing “9” before reaching an outside line.  When an emergency call is placed from a MLTS phone, the user may still have to dial the prefix to direct the call outside of the system.

In December 2013, Kari Hunt was killed by her estranged husband in a motel room in Texas. Her daughter repeatedly attempted to dial 9-1-1 from the motel room, but was unable to reach emergency responders because the motel’s MLTS required users to dial “9” to reach an outside line.[1]

While many hotels and office buildings have begun to make this change to their systems voluntarily, there is no uniform requirement that every MLTS be capable of directly dialing 9-1-1.

According to the bill’s sponsor, “The possibility of even one person experiencing the horror of not getting help during an emergency, when the solution is so amazingly simple, is intolerable.”[2]

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[1] See E&C Majority Memorandum April 26-27, 2016, Full Committee Markup, at 5.
[2] See “Kari’s Law: Father Testifies in D.C.” The Longview News Journal, April 14, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently unavailable.

 

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.