Kari's Law

Direct access to 9-1-1 service and multi-line telephone systems.

For a multi-line telephone system that provides outbound dialing, Kari's Law requires direct access to 9-1-1 service without the user having to first dial an initial number, digit, prefix or other access number or code before dialing 9-1-1. On March 1, 2016 the Commission on State Emergency Communications adopted Rule 251.16 (Direct Access to 9-1-1 Service) to implement Kari’s Law.

Compliance with Kari’s Law is required by September 1, 2016.

More questions? See our FAQs or contact karislaw@texas911.org

Background on Kari's Law

On May 15, 2015, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 788 (Kari's Law). The law represents the culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt in a motel room in Marshall, Texas. Ms. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help four times from the motel room phone. The call never went through because she did not know to first dial “9” for an outbound line before dialing “9-1-1.” On March 1, 2016, Commission on State Emergency Communications Rule 251.16 (Direct Access to 9-1-1 Service) adopted to implement Kari’s Law went into effect.

How to Request a Waiver

For a multi-line telephone system that provides outbound dialing, Kari's Law requires direct access to 9-1-1 service without the user having to first dial an initial number, digit, prefix or other access number or code before dialing 9-1-1. If such a telephone system, commonly referred to as a multi-line telephone system (MLTS), cannot be reprogrammed or replaced to meet the direct access requirement without the user incurring undue and unreasonable costs, a one-year waiver shall be granted upon timely submission of an affidavit (see FAQs for instructions on submitting an affidavit). For each telephone handset used with a non-compliant MLTS, an instructional sticker must be placed immediately adjacent to, and optionally on, the handset instructing the user how to access 9-1-1 service. The instructional sticker must be printed in at least 16-point boldface type, in a contrasting color using a font that is easily readable, and be written in English and Spanish.

Kari’s Law also requires an MLTS to be programmed to send notification of a 9-1-1 call to a central location on the site of the facility from where the 9-1-1 call was made, and per rule 251.15 also to an optional additional location. Providing call notification is only required if it can be done without improvements to the MLTS’s hardware. (See FAQs for additional information on notification requirements.)

Please note that:

  • This waiver is used statewide for the entire state of Texas.
  • The waiver is good for one year (September 1 to August 31).
  • The request must be submitted before September 1st of each year.

Electronically request waiver...

You may click the Get Started button below to fill out and submit your waiver electronically.


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