In his first public bill signing ceremony- Governor Greg Abbott put his signature to legislation known as Kari's Law. SB 788 is named for Kari Dunn who was killed inside a Marshall hotel room. The law requires all phone systems in Texas to have Direct Dial to 911. Some phone systems in businesses and hotels with multi–lines require dialing 9 first in order to get an outside line.
Dunn's daughter, Brianna, stood next to Governor Abbott as he signed the bill. She was in the hotel room when her mother was killed.
"There was an urgent need for 911, and Brianna who was 9 years old at the time, urgently called 911 time and time again but was not able to get out to compete that emergency phone call because it was on a multi-line phones and as a result Brianna lost her mother, we can never allow this to happen again," said Governor Abbott.
Brianna was given the pen the Governor used to sign the legislation into law.
The technology to make direct 911 calls happen is already in place. According to officials with the Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network, it is essentially as easy as flipping a switch.
"People behave differently in traumatic situations, you might think, even as an adult that, I'm in a hotel do I need to dial 9 to get an outside line. But you don't know how you are going to react in a traumatic situation, in the middle of the night, awoken from a sleep … let alone a child, and that's the important thing, we spend thousands of dollars ... educating children, taking materials to schools, over and over again, if you need emergency services call 911, so we've got to keep that promise so the kids know if they dial 911 it's going to work," said Russell Rau with the Emergency Network.
Some places already have direct dial 911. By September, the law will require everyone to have it.