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Kari's Law


02/16/2018 - Became Public Law No: 115-127.
02/16/2018 - Signed by President.
02/09/2018 - House - Presented to President.
02/09/2018-5:34am - House - Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.                                    

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 115-127 (02/16/2018)
(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on February 5, 2018. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Kari's Law Act of 2017

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit businesses from manufacturing or importing for use in the United States, or selling or leasing in the United States, a multi-line telephone system unless it is pre-configured to allow users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 (without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, including any trunk-access code such as the digit "9") from any station equipped with dialing facilities.

Businesses are prohibited from installing, managing, or operating multi-line telephone systems without such a direct 9-1-1 call configuration.

Businesses installing, managing, or operating such systems for use in the United States must configure the systems to provide a 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 so configured without an improvement to the hardware or software.


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Enrolled Bill
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] [H.R. 582 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]          H.R.582                       One Hundred Fifteenth Congress                                   of the                          United States of America                             AT THE SECOND SESSION           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday,            the third day of January, two thousand and eighteen                                    An Act     To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require multi-line telephone  systems to have a configuration that permits users to directly initiate   a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or                      post-fix, and for other purposes.      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the  United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.     This Act may be cited as the ``Kari's Law Act of 2017''. SEC. 2. CONFIGURATION OF MULTI-LINE TELEPHONE SYSTEMS FOR DIRECT  DIALING OF 9-1-1.     (a) In General.--Title VII of the Communications Act of 1934 (47  U.S.C. 601 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:     ``SEC. 721. CONFIGURATION OF MULTI-LINE TELEPHONE SYSTEMS FOR        DIRECT DIALING OF 9-1-1.     ``(a) System Manufacture, Importation, Sale, and Lease.--A person  engaged in the business of manufacturing, importing, selling, or  leasing multi-line telephone systems 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, a multi-line telephone system, unless such system is  pre-configured such that, when properly installed in accordance with  subsection (b), a user may directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 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.     ``(b) System Installation, Management, and Operation.--A person  engaged in the business of installing, managing, or operating multi- line telephone systems may not install, manage, or operate for use in  the United States such a system, unless such system is configured such  that a user may directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 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.     ``(c) On-Site Notification.--A person engaged in the business of  installing, managing, or operating multi-line telephone systems shall,  in installing, managing, or operating such a system for use in the  United States, configure the system to provide a 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.     ``(d) Effect on State Law.--Nothing in this section is intended to  alter the authority of State commissions or other State or local  agencies with jurisdiction over emergency communications, if the  exercise of such authority is not inconsistent with this Act.     ``(e) Enforcement.--This section shall be enforced under title V,  except that section 501 applies only to the extent that such section  provides for the punishment of a fine.     ``(f) Multi-Line Telephone System Defined.--In this section, the  term `multi-line telephone system' has the meaning given such term in  section 6502 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of  2012 (47 U.S.C. 1471).''.     (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall  apply with respect to a multi-line telephone system that is  manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or  leased, or installed after the date that is 2 years after the date of  the enactment of this Act.                                 Speaker of the House of Representatives.                              Vice President of the United States and                                                    President of the Senate. 


More on the History
[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 25 (Thursday, February 8, 2018)] [Pages H992-H994] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]                              KARI'S LAW ACT OF 2017    Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and concur in the  Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 582) to amend the Communications Act  of 1934 to require multi-line telephone systems to have a configuration  that permits users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing  any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, and for other  purposes.   The Clerk read the title of the bill.   The text of the Senate amendment is as follows:   Senate amendment:         Beginning on page 4, strike line 10 and all that follows       through page 5, line 2, and insert the following:        (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a)       shall apply with respect to a multi-line telephone system       that is manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or       lease, first sold or leased, or installed after the date that       is 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.    The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Young of Iowa). Pursuant to the rule,  the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Lance) and the gentleman from  Pennsylvania (Mr. Michael F. Doyle) each will control 20 minutes.   The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey.                                General Leave    Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have  5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to insert  extraneous material in the Record on the bill.   The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the  gentleman from New Jersey?   There was no objection.   Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.   H.R. 582, or Kari's Law, was sponsored by my good friend, Congressman  Gohmert. This important bill passed earlier this Congress on January  23, 2017. I am pleased that at this time it will be sent to the  President to be signed into law.   The residents of Texas know of a very painful story. Kari Hunt was  murdered in a hotel room by her estranged husband in 2013. Kari's 9- year-old daughter did the exact right thing she knew to do, which was  to call 911. Unfortunately, she did not know to dial another digit to  get an outside line; and, parenthetically, I would not have known that.   This legislation will ensure that when you stay at a hotel, you can  dial 911 and the call will go through without dialing another number.  Kari's dad, Hank, and Mr. Gohmert had been relentless advocates to make  sure that this legislation becomes law. I commend their efforts and  that of Senator Klobuchar and her staff, along with Senator Deb  Fischer.   God bless Kari's family for not giving up and fighting for this law.  It is impossible to express how important it is, especially as we  approach the 50th anniversary of 911 service next week.   Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.   Mr. MICHAEL F. DOYLE of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself  such time as I may consume.  [[Page H993]]    Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Senate amendment to H.R. 582, a  bill that passed the House last Congress by voice vote.   I agree that we must do all we can to make sure that consumers using  multiline telephone systems can directly dial 911 without having to  dial additional digits first. These are the large enterprise phone  systems that we use in big office buildings and hotels. Many of these  phones require consumers to dial an extra 9 to get an outside line.  Most of us know that, but too many people do not realize that you also  have to dial 9 before dialing 911 on these phones, and if you don't  dial the 9 first, you can't reach emergency services.   As you can imagine, in desperate situations, being able to quickly  reach first responders can mean the difference between life and death.   This very issue led to a tragedy in Texas several years ago. Kari  Dunn was killed while her 9-year-old daughter tried to call for help.  Kari's daughter did what she thought she was supposed to do in an  emergency, dial 911. But because the system she was using required her  to dial that additional 9 first, she only heard silence on the other  end.   Building on the Herculean effort of Kari Dunn's family, we are one  step closer to fixing this problem once and for all.   H.R. 582 is an important step toward making our systems work better  in an emergency. But for all the good this bill does, it still leaves  work to be done. Specifically, these multiline systems still often fail  to deliver accurate location information to first responders. That  means that if someone calls 911 from this very building that we are  sitting in, for instance, precious minutes could tick by as emergency  personnel struggle to figure out where the call came from in this  enormous complex.   That delay could be the difference between life and death. We must  act to correct this problem, too, because making sure the call goes  through is only helpful if public safety officials can find the caller.   Democrats tried to include such a provision in the version of this  bill from last Congress, and at that time we received a commitment from  Chairman Walden to work together on a separate bill to address this  concern. We were not able to solve this problem last Congress, and we  expect the commitment will carry over to this Congress.   Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.   Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from  Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn).   Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, again, I thank the vice chairman and the  ranking member for their persistence on this measure. I also commend  Mr. Gohmert, who has worked with Kari's dad and has seen this through.   We are pleased to get this on its way to the President's desk.  Indeed, we are going to continue to work on the enhanced 911  requirements because we do think that that is important. Technology  allows more precise indications of exactly, precisely where phone calls  are coming from. But solving this problem is one we need to do today.   All of us who are moms and dads and have children and grandchildren,  you train them to dial 911. I am certain that that is what Kari did  with her daughter: If there is ever an emergency, dial 911.   And the fact is that this required the preceding digit, an extra  number, to be dialed in order to access that outside line that would  have delivered that 911 call.   So as we look at 50 years of 911 service and Kari's 36th birthday,  which is coming up tomorrow, it is so appropriate that we take this  action. So I thank Mr. Gohmert and the members of the committee who  have continued the diligence on this.   Mr. MICHAEL F. DOYLE of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, at this time, it  gives me great pleasure to yield such time as she may consume to the  gentlewoman from the California (Ms. Eshoo), a valuable member of our  Energy and Commerce Committee.   Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I thank our terrific ranking member for  yielding time to me and for his leadership and that of our colleagues  on the other side of the aisle.    Kari's Law addresses a very serious problem and it has been outlined  by Members on both sides of the aisle, and I support the bill.   But it is very important for those who are listening into this  discussion this morning that when anyone dials 911 from a hotel, from a  large building of several stories, from office buildings, from our  office buildings where our offices are--10 floors, 20 floors, 30  floors--seconds really matter and they can make the difference between  life or death. You should not have to dial 9 or some other prefix to  get help.   We already know that that is what happened in this tragic situation  where the 9-year-old daughter was witnessing the actual murder taking  place by her father, the estranged husband of Kari. That woman lost her  life.   So what is missing in this legislation is accuracy for multiline  telephone systems. Once your call reaches the 911 call center, whomever  answers that call needs to know exactly where you are to dispatch first  responders. Now, if you are in a single-family home, it is easy. But if  you are in any one of these buildings, hotels, or office buildings, the  first responders have to go floor by floor. That takes a long time. We  know because we walk from floor to floor just to get over to the  Capitol. It takes us 7 or 8 minutes to get from Cannon House Office  Building to the Capitol.   So if you call 911 again from the 10th floor of a 30-story office  building, it takes first responders a long time to get there.   Oftentimes, during an emergency, individuals who have called in, they  don't really know exactly where they are, or they are so panicked that  they are blinded by what is going on that they can't express that to  the dispatcher. That is why location technology is really important.   I offered an amendment when this bill was taken up at the Energy and  Commerce Committee to include location technology. That was rejected by  the majority, but they promised that they would work with me in order  to bring that about.   Despite a lot of reaching out, et cetera, it didn't happen. I am once  again offering legislation to establish that there will be location  technology applied to multiline telephone systems. I think it is  essential, and I don't know anyone who would disagree with that. It  just didn't happen. It is not in this bill. But I think that it is  important to highlight, as we celebrate the work that has been done,  the important step that this takes, that there is a hole in it.   So as has been said by other Members, we are approaching the 50th  anniversary next week of the first 911 call ever made in our country. I  would like to urge my colleagues to work with me to build on the  important progress that this bill represents, Kari's Law, to ensure  that all multiline telephone systems provide a caller's location when  they dial 911 so that the full breadth and depth of an emergency system  actually reaches them.   Mr. Speaker, I thank our ranking member for yielding time to me.   Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas  (Mr. Gohmert), the principal sponsor.   Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, I certainly thank my new friend, Mr.  Leonard Lance, from New Jersey for his great help in marshaling this  bill, and I appreciate the bipartisan support. I understand there is  another element regarding location and there is some disagreement. I  see the merit. I understand some have concerns.   But what we found out, just to go back, people have talked about how  Kari Hunt was viscously attacked by her estranged husband, and her  little 9-year-old daughter calling 911. The way that was learned was-- and by the way, she was not only stabbed 21 times, she was repeatedly  struck. This is an attack that went on over several minutes.   Her brutal, mean-spirited estranged husband now says from prison:  Well, I don't think it would have mattered if a 911 call had went  through.   He was attacking her for several minutes. The police could get there  in Marshall in a couple of minutes. It would have made all the  difference.                                {time}  1245    But the way it was learned was that Hank had his little 9-year-old  granddaughter in his lap after Kari was pronounced dead and was trying  to console  [[Page H994]]  her. She was weeping and said to her grandfather:   I don't know what happened. I kept dialing 911 and nothing ever  happened. I would hang up, and I would dial 911, and nothing happened.   That is when Hank began to look into it and found out the situation.  Then, after he brought it to my attention, we got to looking into it.  The hotel associations and the other groups have been very helpful.   It turns out that it is not an expense. All it takes is the  government directing to make sure these phones are programmed so that  when you dial 911, it goes straight out. It won't cost anything. The  programmers themselves have said: Hey, if you have a problem, let us  know. We will come out and fix that for free.   So all it takes is this government saying: Just do it, so when a  child or adult or anyone dials 911 it goes out.   I thank my friend, Marsha Blackburn; I thank Senator Klobuchar for  her work; and my staff, Caralee Conklin and Andrew Keyes, particularly,  for working on this.   Tomorrow, Kari would have turned 36. I believe that this will prevent  any other Karis in the future from having their birthday celebrated  after they are deceased. This will be a legacy for Kari and for Hank,  who are the family, and for her daughter.   I thank everyone involved in making this happen, and I thank my  Democrat friend for working with us.   Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas  (Mr. Burgess).   Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.   Mr. Speaker, we all teach our kids. We teach them how to stay safe  and how to respond in an emergency. They learn things like stop, drop,  and roll for fires; don't talk to strangers; look both ways before you  cross the street; and dial 911 in emergencies.   Unfortunately, there is no lesson explaining that on some phones you  must dial 9 to get an outside line before you dial 911. Other phones  even have additional numbers, and they are not the same for every phone  system.   Multiline phone systems like those found in offices--our offices,  hotels, and hospitals--make our lives easier by condensing multiple  lines into a single phone. One feature of multiline phone systems is  that, in order to get outside of the internal lines, you must dial a  specific code or set of digits. It doesn't seem like a big deal or even  necessarily life threatening, but to this young girl trying to save her  mother, that is exactly what a multiline phone system in Marshall,  Texas, became.   We have heard the story. In 2013, Kari Dunn was stabbed by her  estranged husband while her daughter attempted to dial 911 multiple  times. She knew the number to call to save her mother's life, but she  didn't know to dial 9 to get an outside line. She didn't realize what a  multiphone system represented. The emergency personnel subsequently  were not getting notified in time.   The Energy and Commerce Committee marked up this bill in a previous  Congress and supported its passage into law. I was grateful to support  the bill back then. I am grateful to Mr. Gohmert for continuing to  press this issue. I look forward to voting for this again.   This tragedy occurred in Texas, but it could have happened anywhere.  In emergencies, every minute counts. We must remove obstacles to  emergency response, and this bill does just that.   Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished  gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Shimkus).   (Mr. SHIMKUS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his  remarks.)   Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Speaker, it is a great day. I came down here, also,  with Congresswoman Eshoo. We chair the bipartisan NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus.  Fifty years is a great anniversary. The caucus has been around 50  years. It is one of those true bipartisan developments. When Anna and I  started, it was Conrad Burns in the Senate and Hillary Clinton on the  Senate side.   When addressing 911 services and the problems that roll out when we  have a successful program, there is nothing perfect. We have to come  back and revisit. But it is like baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet.  What could be wrong with being focused on getting emergency services to  people in need? That is why 911 is such a great service.   I want to thank my colleague from Texas (Mr. Gohmert) for bringing  this up.   We always have to keep changing and updating. As technology moves  from the dial-up phone to the iPhone and we start doing text and we  start doing video, the NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus works with industry, the  telecommunications sector, and the Peace apps to make sure that  ou first-line responders have the best opportunity to find, as Anna  said, what floor. That is a big issue.    Technology will overcome that some day, and we have to achieve what  we can achieve now, but never shy away from the fact that we can always  refine and get better. This is a good start.   I want to thank my colleague from Texas. I appreciate his work. I do  appreciate my friends on the Democratic side for their commitment and  support on this over the years, not just today.   Mr. MICHAEL F. DOYLE of Pennsylvania. I will close for our side now,  Mr. Speaker.   Mr. Speaker, I want to first congratulate Representative Gohmert and  Senator Klobuchar for this piece of legislation.   I hope that our friends on the Republican side will work with us to  improve the location accuracy for these multiline systems. I think that  is an important piece of unfinished business that we need to do to make  this bill even better. We support the bill.   Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.   Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, this is the way Congress should work in a  bicameral and a bipartisan capacity. I think those of us who serve on  the Energy and Commerce Committee are very proud of our service there.  It is the committee in the House of Representatives the sends the most  bills to the floor--the most bills that pass, the most bills that pass  in the Senate, and the most bills that reach the desk of the President  of the United States. This was true of President Obama, as I am sure it  will be true of President Trump.   This act will improve the lives of the American people. We mourn the  loss of the terrible tragedy in Texas, but out of that terrible tragedy  we hope to improve the American Nation, and this certainly will do  that.   Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.   The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the  gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Lance) that the House suspend the rules  and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill, H.R. 582.   The question was taken.   The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds  being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.   Mr. LANCE. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a  quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not  present.   The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further  proceedings on this question will be postponed.   The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.

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