(August 30, 2016) A new Texas law making it easier to dial 9-1-1 from a multi-line telephone system (MLTS) goes into effect Thursday.
‘Kari's Law’ requires direct access to 9-1-1 service without the caller having to first dial another number – such as 9 -- for an outside line. Under the new legislation, businesses (such as offices and hotels) with MLTS must provide direct access to 9-1-1 by September 1, 2016.
'Kari’s Law' was named for Kari Hunt, who was murdered while her 9-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help from a motel room phone in Marshall, Texas. Four calls for help never went through because the child didn’t know to dial ‘9’ first for an outside line.
Under the law, if existing MLTS cannot be reprogrammed or replaced, a one-year waiver may be granted upon submission of an affidavit. Business owners should contact their MLTS provider to learn whether their phone system is compliant. Some new phone systems may be reprogrammed (not replaced) and costs, if any, should be minimal.
Governor Greg Abbott signed the law in March 2015.