The campaign to pass Kari's Law began in December 2013, when the namesake of the bill, Kari Hunt was murdered by her estranged husband in a hotel room in Marshall, Texas. Hunt's 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 for help four times from the motel room phone, but the call never went through because she did not know that the motel's phone system required dialing "9" for an outbound line before dialing 911. Kari's father, Hank Hunt made a promise to his granddaughter that this would never happen to another child. He worked tirelessly over the next four years to get laws passed at both the state and federal levels.Kari's Law
In August 2019, the Commission adopted rules implementing two federal laws that strengthen emergency calling: Kari's Law and Section 506 of RAY BAUM'S Act
Kari's Law requires the configuration allowing users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or postfix. Separate versions of the bill were initially passed in 2017 in the House and Senate. Committees then worked to combine the two versions into a single bill H.R. 582.
Congress responded by enacting Kari's Law in 2018. Kari's Law requires direct 911 dialing and notification capabilities in multi-line telephone systems (MLTS), which are typically found in enterprises such as office buildings, campuses, and hotels. The statute provides that these requirements take effect on February 16, 2020, two years after the enactment date of Kari's Law. In addition, Kari's Law and the federal rules are forward-looking and apply only with respect to MLTS that are manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after February 16, 2020.
Under the statute and the Commission's rules, MLTS manufacturers and vendors must pre-configure these systems to support direct dialing of 911—that is, to enable the user to dial 911 without having to dial any prefix or access code, such as the number 9. In addition, MLTS installers, managers, and operators must ensure that the systems support 911 direct dialing.
The Commission's rules also implement the notification requirement of Kari's Law, which is intended to facilitate building entry by first responders. When a 911 call is placed on a MLTS system, the system must be configured to notify a central location on-site or off-site where someone is likely to see or hear the notification. Examples of notification include conspicuous on-screen messages with audible alarms for security desk computers using a client application, text messages for smartphones, and email for administrators. Notification shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
Compliance date (MLTS direct dialing and notification) and Exemption for Legacy MLTS
- The fact that a 911 call has been made;
- A valid callback number; and
- The information about the caller's location that the MLTS conveys to the public safety answering point (PSAP) with the call to 911; provided, however, that the notification does not have to include a callback number or location information if it is technically infeasible to provide this information. (47 CFR § 9.3.
Kari's Law and the Commission's rules are forward-looking and do not apply with respect to any MLTS that is manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed on or before February 16, 2020. (See 47 CFR § 9.17(b).)
All other MLTS (i.e., systems manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after February 16, 2020) must meet the following compliance date: Feb. 17, 2020
MLTS manufacturers, importers, sellers, and lessors:
- May not manufacture or import for use in the United States, or sell or lease or offer to sell or lease in the United States, an MLTS, unless the system is pre-configured so that when it is properly installed in accordance with the MLTS rules, a user may directly initiate a call to 911 from any station equipped with dialing facilities, without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, including any trunk-access code such as the digit 9, regardless of whether the user is required to dial such a digit, code, prefix, or post-fix for the other calls. (47 CFR § 9.16(a)(1).)
MLTS installers, managers, and operators:
- May not install, manage, or operate for use in the United States an MLTS, unless the system is configured so that a user may directly initiate a call to 911 from any station equipped with dialing facilities, without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, including any trunk-access code such as the digit 9, regardless of whether the user is required to dial such a digit, code, prefix, or post-fix for other calls. (47 CFR § 9.16(b)(1).)
- Shall, in installing, managing, or operating an MLTS for use in the United States, configure the system to provide MLTS notification to a central location at the facility where the system is installed or to another person or organization regardless of location, if the system is able to be configured to provide the notification without an improvement to the hardware or software of the system. (47 CFR § 9.16(b)(2).) MLTS notification must meet the following requirements:
- It must be initiated contemporaneously with the 911 call, provided that it is technically feasible to do so; and
- It must not delay the call to 911; and
- It must be sent to a location where someone is likely to see or hear it. (47 CFR § 9.16(b)(2).)