Yes, the Federal version of Kari’s Law went effective February 16, 2020. The Texas version of Kari’s Law has required compliance since September 1, 2016, applies to existing systems, and has a waiver process in certain limited scenarios under that applicable Texas law. In contrast, the federal version of Kari’s Law effective nationwide on February 16, 2020, only applies with respect to a multiline telephone systems (MLTS) that are manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after February 16, 2020. The Texas and federal versions of Kari’s Law both seek to address this important issue under each statute, as applicable. As the FCC stated in paragraph 11 of its August 2019 Report and Order, “[the federal version of] Kari’s Law expressly provides that Congress did not intend 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]” (available at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-19-76A1.pdf).
The law and the rule are applicable to any “business service user” (BSU) that utilizes an MLTS in Texas. Examples of a business service user include, but are not limited to, for-profit and non-profit businesses and organizations as well as governmental entities, agencies and political subdivisions who use, own, or lease an MLTS.
For more information on Texas Kari’s Law and who should comply:
Texas Kari’s Law PSA for Schools
General Texas Kari’s Law PSA
As defined in Texas Kari’s Law and Rule 251.16, a “business service user” (BSU) means a user of business service that provides telecommunications service, including 9-1-1 service, to end users through a publicly or privately owned or controlled telephone switch. "Business service" means a telecommunications or communications service provided a customer where the use is primarily of a business, professional, institutional, or otherwise occupational nature.
For practical purposes, a business service user refers to a person or entity with the authority to determine whether and how to make available telecommunications or communications services to others, and the use of such services is subject to the person or entity’s control. The term generally does not refer to the underlying provider of the telecommunications or communications services (e.g., the phone company or other service provider), or the seller, provider, installer, or programmer of the MLTS equipment.
Lives and property may depend upon your compliance. Additionally, a compliant business service user is deemed a “third party or other entity involved in the providing of 9-1-1 service” and is protected from liability as provided in Texas Health and Safety Code Section 771.053 from claims allegedly arising as a result of a person accessing or attempting to access 9-1-1.
A business service user should first contact their MLTS seller, provider, installer, and/or programmer to determine how the MLTS(s) has been programmed for 9-1-1 service. If such information cannot be obtained, please contact your local 9-1-1 authority. To find your local 9-1-1 authority, please go to http://www.texas911.org/home/lookup.
A business service user must annually request a one-year waiver for each non-compliant MLTS by submitting a notarized affidavit that complies with the requirements of Texas Kari’s Law and Rule 251.16. Affidavits must be received by September 1 of each year and entitles the business service user to a one-year (September 1 – August 31) waiver of the requirement to provide direct access to 9-1-1 service for each identified MLTS.
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 written in English and Spanish. The following could be applicable and potentially customized by the BSU in order to allow the user to successfully contact 9-1-1:
If you have an emergency you must dial ____ , wait for the tone, then dial 9-1-1.
En una emergencia se debe marcar el ____, esperar el tono, y luego marcar el 9-1-1
If when a person picks up a phone handset they have the ability to use the phone on the system, usually evidenced by hearing dial tone or something equivalent, without doing anything else, then the phone handset should be considered “active” and 9-1-1 service should be accessible by doing nothing more than dialing 9-1-1. If when a person pick up a phone handset they hear only silence and they have no ability to use the phone on the system, then the handset/desktop phone should be considered “not active” and may be activated thereafter by selecting a line; at that point 9-1-1 service must be accessible by doing nothing more than dialing 9-1-1.
Yes, a business service user that has multiple locations or multiple phone systems, can add separate addresses or phone systems on one waiver form.
Yes. 9-1-1 Authorities will be monitoring the receipt of successive annual one-year waivers. Those business service users identified as having submitted three successive annual waivers may be contacted by the 9-1-1 authority to provide additional guidance in an effort to comply with Texas Kari’s Law.
You will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of the waiver. Under Texas Kari’s Law, upon timely submission of a completed affidavit, a business service user shall be granted a one-year waiver (September 1 - August 31) of the requirement to provide direct access to 9-1-1 for each identified MLTS. Upon receipt, the affidavit will be administratively reviewed and the business service user will be notified if the affidavit was not received within the specified timeframe or it was not complete.
Upon the submitting an administratively complete Affidavit, the waiver is considered self-certified for the next year beginning September 1st. Therefore, no separate compliance notice will be sent.
If your MLTS is able to be configured to provide notification of a 9-1-1 call without an improvement to the MLTS’s hardware, then the MLTS must provide a notification to a central location on the site of the facility from where the 9-1-1 call is placed; and optionally to an additional location. For a notice sent to a central location, there is no requirement that a person be available to receive or respond to the notification. For a notice sent to an optional additional location, Rule 251.16 recommends that it be staffed 24x7 with personnel qualified to assist emergency first responders in accessing the appropriate facility and determining the location of the 9-1-1 call.
For example: A hotel’s MLTS providing notification to the front desk that someone within the hotel has dialed 9-1-1 would be on-site central location notification required by law if doing so does not require an upgrade to the MLTS hardware. A university campus MLTS providing notification to campus police that someone utilizing the university’s MLTS has dialed 9-1-1 would be an optional additional location.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The on-site and optional additional notification requirements are in addition to the requirement that all 9-1-1 calls must connect the caller to a public safety answering point.
No. If your MLTS allows for direct access to 9-1-1 service, there is no requirement to affirm such access. A waiver is required only if your MLTS does not provide direct access to 9-1-1 service and cannot be reprogrammed or replaced without incurring undue and unreasonable costs.
No. Whether your MLTS can provide notification or cannot without improvements to the MLTS’s hardware, there is no requirement to notify or affirm compliance with the notification requirement(s).
Please advise potential callers that if they place a 9-1-1 call accidently, then they should stay on the line and not hang up. If the caller hangs up, then the 9-1-1 call center may call back the telephone number displayed or potentially take other actions.
If your company does not comply, then your company may expose itself to unnecessary potential liability.
If your company is compliant with Texas Kari's Law, then the company is deemed a “third party or other entity involved in the providing of 9-1-1 service” and is protected from liability as provided in Texas Health and Safety Code Section 771.053 from claims allegedly arising as a result of a person accessing or attempting to access 9-1-1.
Affidavits must be received by September 1 of each year for a one-year (September 1 – August 31) waiver of the requirement to provide direct access to 9-1-1 service for each identified MLTS. Affidavits received after September 1, will only be applicable for the following year beginning September 1st. If the phone system is not able to directly access 9-1-1, then display an instructional sticker on each non-compliant telephone handset instructing the user how to access 9-1-1 service.
For example, Affidavits received after September 1, 2016, will only be applicable for September 1, 2017 – 2018.
Business servicer users are encouraged during the year to make every attempt to reprogram or upgrade their phone system. Some new phone systems need to be reprogrammed (not replaced) and costs, if any, should be minimal.