West commends Congress for the recent passage of H.R. 582, commonly known as “Kari’s Law Act of 2017.” The new law, which amends the Communications Act of 1934, is named in honor of Kari Hunt Dunn whose tragic passing in 2013 alerted the nation to the dangers of requiring a dialing prefix to access 911. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of 911 champions like Hank Hunt, Kari’s father, Americans across the land will benefit from easier access to 911 when connecting to the service from certain private phone systems.
What does this new legislation require?
New Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS)* like Unified Communications (UC) platforms, must allow users to dial 911 without requiring any prefix, post-fix or trunk access code. In addition to the direct dialing provision, Kari’s Law also requires that on-site notifications be issued when someone calls 911. The passage of this law demonstrates recognition by lawmakers in Washington that direct access to 911 service in an emergency is essential for all Americans.
A truly bipartisan effort, this bill was introduced by Rep. Gohmert (R-TX) in the House and Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) in the Senate, and was ultimately signed into law by President Trump on February 16, 2018. Numerous versions of different 911 regulations, including those with 911 location requirements, have also passed or are pending in various states and counties across the nation (https://www.west.com/legal-privacy/regulations/#State_E911_Legislation).
For more information on the new law and its impact on your business, as well as the effect of other 911 regulations for your enterprise, West recommends consulting with your legal advisors for guidance.
* The direct dialing requirement 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. On-site notification of a 911 call is required if the system is able to be configured to provide the notification without an improvement to the hardware or software of the system.