Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Kari's Law passes U.S. House, headed to President Trump

By Staff Reports
Feb. 9, 2018 at 11:06 a.m.
Updated Feb. 9, 2018 at 11:06 a.m.

Kari Hunt Dunn

A 911 access bill that has its origins in an East Texas murder is headed to the desk of President Donald Trump.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved Kari's Law early Friday. It passed the U.S. Senate earlier in the week.

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, who sponsored the bill, issued a statement Friday morning about its passage.

“Kari’s Law is on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into effect,” the statement read. “Our children should be able to dial 911 and get help on the other end of the line in a hotel or in an office. Now they can.”

The bill is named in memory of Kari Hunt Dunn, 31, who was fatally stabbed in December 2013 by her estranged husband in a Marshall hotel room. The couple's oldest daughter, who was 9 at the time, tried to dial 911 four times during the struggle but was unsuccessful because she didn't realize she had to first dial an access number or an extra 9 to get an outside line.

As a result, the slain woman's father, Hank Hunt, launched an online petition addressed to Gohmert and other members of Congress, pushing for a law to ensure any person needing emergency assistance at any hotel or motel can easily dial 911 and connect automatically to a dispatcher without obstacles or delays.

The bill would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require multiline telephone systems, common in hotels and offices, to have the ability to directly dial 911 without getting an outside line first.

“What a fitting day for Kari’s Law to pass — today Kari would have been 36 years old,” Gohmert’s statement read. “Happy birthday, Kari. Your legacy lives on.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was an original co-sponsor of the bill.

Hunt's estranged husband, Brad Dunn, was sentenced to 99 years in prison for her death.

The Texas Legislature passed a similar law that went into effect in 2016.



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