Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act

What is Kari’s Law?

In 2013, Kari Hunt was killed in a motel room in Marshall, Texas by her estranged husband. Her 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 four times, but the calls never went through because the motel’s phone system required dialing “9” before any call to secure an outbound phone line. Kari’s Law was named to honor Kari’s memory and the Law ensures that anyone can reach a 911 call center when dialing 911 from an MLTS (Multi-Line Telephone Systems).

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented two statutes to make it easier for callers to reach 911, and for emergency services to locate those callers – Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act.

Kari’s Law went into effect on February 16, 2020, stating that MLTS vendors and manufacturers must configure new phone systems to support direct dialing 911. The system must also send a notification to a central location on- or off-site, such as a front desk or security kiosk. The notification will provide an alert that a 911 call was placed, and include a callback number and information about the caller’s location.

  • Kari’s Law requires that all outbound dialing MLTS must provide direct access to 911 service without the caller having to dial an initial number, digit, prefix or other access number before dialing 911. While numerous states have their own version of Kari’s Law, a nationwide version, H.R. 582 (115th): Kari’s Law Act of 2017, was signed into law in 2018 and took effect February 16, 2020. Kari’s Law specially applies to 911 access and notification of a 911 call to a central location on the site of the facilities where a call is placed and to an optional additional location per Rule 251.15.

Learn more about Kari’s Law at H.R.582 – Kari’s Law Act of 2017


How Do I know if I’m Kari’s Law Compliant?

The National 911 Program with the FCC has developed user-friendly tools to provide:

  • An overview of legislation
  • Detailed lists of state laws, FCC rules and terms
  • Compliance rules and deadlines
  • An interactive checklist to track progress toward compliance

What does RAY BAUM stand for?

RAY BAUM is not only a person but is also an acronym. It stands for Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services.

Who was Ray Baum?

Self described as “just a small-town lawyer,” Ray Baum served in a number of important public roles throughout his career. He served at both the state and federal level in Oregon and in Washington D.C. Ray was a Commissioner and Chairman of the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC), served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and as the Chair of NARUC’s Committee on Telecommunications.

In December 2016, Ray Baum joined U.S. Representative Greg Walden’s staff as Staff Director on the Energy and Commerce Committee working on telecommunications issues with the FCC. In February of 2018, Ray Baum passed away after a long battle with cancer. In recognition of his important contributions to the telecommunications industry, Representative Greg Walden arranged to have RAY BAUM’S Act named in his honor.


RAY BAUM’s Act Compliance

The RAY BAUM’S Act was signed into law in 2018. The Act emphasizes the importance of sharing precise location information when calling 911, which is invaluable to first responders in locating callers and can dramatically increases the potential for better emergency outcomes. There is a particular focus for providers on Section 506 of the Act with its 911 emergency services for enterprises. 

Section 506 of RAY BAUM’S Act

The RAY BAUM’s Act requires that all Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) provide a “dispatchable location” on all emergency 911 calls. A dispatchable location is defined not only as the street address of the 911 calling party, but also must include additional information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party.

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