WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement regarding the reintroduction of his bill, H.R. 582, the Kari’s Law Act of 2017, which previously passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives but was held up in the Senate:
“In the last Congress, we had strong bi-partisan and bicameral support for Kari’s Law, and even had a Democrat as lead sponsor in the Senate who was on the committee with jurisdiction and willing to marshal the bill toward passage. However, the bill got held up in the Senate when there was a push to add additional language which would have created significant costs to implement and added more government intrusion into our personal lives. The bill as I drafted it with input from constituents, businesses, phone companies, and installers of systems would have cost virtually nothing, but simply required that all phone systems allow anyone dialing 9-1-1 to always have that call go straight to an emergency operator without dialing any prefix number.”
“Having further discussions with Senate friends, I believe we can get it through both Houses of Congress this time without the hold up in the Senate. We have no doubt that President Trump will be pleased to sign the bill as well. In the House itself, the Energy and Commerce Committee leaders who were so helpful last term, have actually encouraged me to file it immediately this term so we can work together toward making this one of the early new laws of this Congress. In other words, we want to press while the iron is still hot.”
“The horrific death of east Texas resident, Kari Rene Hunt, caused many people throughout the First District of Texas and the country to lose trust in a system that should assist when faced with emergency situations. Never again should a child or anyone else, for that matter, pick up the phone, dial 9-1-1, and get nothing.”
“Sadly, this legislation will not reverse the heartbreaking loss of Kari and all the horrors of that day; but, it is my prayer her legacy will safeguard others, so they never experience a situation of this magnitude. I am also optimistic that Republican Senate Leaders will be very helpful in making this needed law a reality. Regardless of whether or not Kari’s killer thinks this law would have mattered, his horrific, murderous actions took long enough that we believe Marshall Police would have been there in time.”
Introduced first in 2015, Kari’s Law of 2017 will ensure that anyone who dials 9-1-1 can reach emergency personnel even if the phone typically requires that user to dial a prefix such as “9” or “7” to get an outside line.
Congressman Gohmert is the Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, he was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas and was appointed by then Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals.