The legislation was inspired by the murder of Texas mom Kari Hunt, who was slain in a hotel room as her children listened helplessly. Her 9-year-old daughter repeatedly tried in vain to call 9-1-1, but did not know she had to dial "9" first to reach an outside line.
State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, sponsored the legislation in the House.
“Access to emergency services is not a process we can afford to complicate or jeopardize,” Manley said Tuesday. The passage of this legislation ensures that everyone has access to life-saving services. We cannot gamble with the lives of our citizens by hindering the simple process of seeking emergency help.”Senate Bill 3313, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer-Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, in the Senate, requires that newly installed phone systems at businesses and hotels allow anyone to call 911 without having to pre-dial a code such as "9" first.
The measure now heads to Gov. Pat Quinn for a signature.
“When this becomes law, the citizens of Illinois will be guaranteed quick and efficient access to vital emergency services, a right that should never have been compromised," Manley said.
Kari Hunt's father, Hank Hunt, has launched an online petition to enact "Kari's Law," which would require hotels and other businesses to have phone systems that allow calls to connect automatically to 911. More than 440,000 people have signed the petition so far.