What started as a father's grassroots effort to prevent delays in reaching emergency help, has resulted in a new law signed Friday by President Donald Trump.
Surrounded by the family of Kari Rene Hunt in the Oval Office, President Trump signed the bill known as 'Kari's Law.' The law, named in honor of Kari Hunt, ensures better, more direct access to 9-1-1.
The law was the mission of Kari's father, Hank, who set out after his daughter's death to make sure no extra digits were needed in reaching 9-1-1. Kari was stabbed to death by her estranged husband in a Marshall, Texas hotel room in 2013. Her daughter was in the room at the time and tried dialing 9-1-1 repeatedly for help, but did not know an extra '9' was needed to reach an outside line.
Hank Hunt's efforts started as a simple online petition and grew into state laws being passed in at least four states, including his home state of Texas. Legislation was passed on the state level in Illinois, Maryland, Tennessee and in the Hunt's home state of Texas. The Texas law passed in 2015, with Kari's daughter receiving the pen Governor Greg Abbott used to sign the bill, in honor of her mother.
Bipartisan legislation was introduced on the national level by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, resulting in the bill that was signed by the President on Friday.
“Although this law will not reverse the heartbreaking loss of Kari Rene Hunt and all the horrors of that day, her legacy will now live on and safeguard others from experiencing a situation of this magnitude,” Rep. Gohmert said. “Today is monumental -- no longer should a child, or anyone for that matter, pick up the phone to call for help and get nothing.”