Report text available as:

(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?


                                                      Calendar No. 164
115th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {      115-124
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                        KARI'S LAW ACT OF 2017

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 123











[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]











                 July 10, 2017.--Ordered to be printed
                                  ______

                         U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 

69-010                         WASHINGTON : 2017 





















       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred fifteenth congress
                             first session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
 ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
 ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
 TED CRUZ, Texas                      AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
 DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
 JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
 DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
 DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey
 JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma            TOM UDALL, New Mexico
 MIKE LEE, Utah                       GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
 RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
 SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West           TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
    Virginia
 CORY GARDNER, Colorado               MARGARETWOODHASSAN,NewHampshire
 TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                 Adrian Arnakis, Deputy Staff Director
                    Jason Van Beek, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director





















                                                      Calendar No. 164
115th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {      115-124

======================================================================



 
                         KARI'S LAW ACT OF 2017
                                _______
                                

                 July 10, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 123]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 123) to amend the 
Communications Act of 1934 to require multi-line telephone 
systems to have a default configuration that permits users to 
directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any 
additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    S. 123, the Kari's Law Act of 2017, seeks to improve the 
ability to contact emergency services when calling from multi-
line telephone systems. The bill would require that most new 
multi-line phone systems, such as those commonly found in 
hotels, schools, and hospitals, support a configuration that 
permits users to directly dial 9-1-1 without dialing 1 or any 
other prefix, post-fix, or other code. The bill also would 
require that installers of those systems configure them to 
provide notification to a central location at the facility, or 
to a person or organization with responsibility for safety or 
security for the location as designated by the manager or 
operator of the system. Finally, the bill also would grant the 
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to prescribe 
regulations to carry out the bill.

                          Background and Needs

    The Kari's Law Act of 2017 is named in honor of Kari Hunt, 
a 31-year-old woman who was murdered in a hotel room in 
Marshall, Texas by her estranged husband. Ms. Hunt's 9-year-old 
daughter tried to call 9-1-1 during the attack on her mother, 
but could not get through because the hotel phone required her 
to dial ``9'' to reach an outside line.
    This inability to directly dial 9-1-1 is not an isolated 
problem; multi-line telephone systems commonly are configured 
to require callers to dial ``9'' or another access code to 
reach an outside number. As of March 2014, consumers could not 
directly dial 9-1-1 in 44.5 percent of hotel franchises and 32 
percent of independent hotels.\1\ FCC Chairman (then 
Commissioner) Ajit Pai informed a June 2015 workshop held by 
the Nebraska Public Service Commission that nearly all multi-
line telephone systems could be configured or re-configured at 
little-to-no cost to allow direct dial 9-1-1, that many hotels 
had begun implementing direct dial 9-1-1 for their guests, and 
that half of all vendors surveyed shipped their multi-line 
telephone system products with a default setting of direct dial 
9-1-1. But there is no Federal mandate in place today to 
require that multi-line telephone systems be configured to 
allow direct access to 9-1-1.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Remarks of FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, ``911 Goes to Washington 
Conference,'' March 24, 2014, at http://apps.fcc.gov/edocs--public/
attachmatch/DOC-326214A1.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Summary of Provisions

    The Kari's Law Act of 2017 would amend the Communications 
Act of 1934 to require that multi-line telephone systems, such 
as those commonly found in hotels, hospitals, and offices, be 
designed and configured in a way that permits users to directly 
initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digits 
(for example, without having to dial ``9'' to access an outside 
line).
    The bill would not prohibit other 9-1-1 emergency dialing 
patterns (for example, 9-9-1-1) from also initiating a call to 
a public safety answering point, provided the dialing pattern 
9-1-1 remained available to users.
    The Act's requirements would apply to manufacturers, 
importers, sellers, lessors, and those engaged in the business 
of installing multi-line telephone systems, beginning 2 years 
after enactment. Those engaged in the business of installing 
multi-line telephone systems would be required to configure a 
multi-line telephone system to notify a central location at the 
facility or a person or organization with responsibility for 
safety at the location if the installer can do so without any 
improvement to the system.
    The FCC would have authority to prescribe regulations to 
carry out the section, provided that such regulations, to the 
extent practicable, were technologically neutral. The bill, or 
regulations prescribed under the bill, would not prevent any 
State from enforcing any State law that is not inconsistent 
with the bill.

                          Legislative History

    The Committee ordered S. 123, by voice vote, to be reported 
favorably without amendment on January 24, 2017. Senator 
Klobuchar introduced the bill on January 12, 2017. Senators 
Fischer, Thune, Schatz, Cornyn, and Cruz are cosponsors.
    The House of Representatives passed a substantially similar 
version of the Act, H.R. 582, by voice vote on a motion to 
suspend the rules on January 12, 2017. Representative Gohmert 
introduced the House of Representative's version of the Act on 
January 17, 2017. That measure has bipartisan support with 29 
cosponsors.
    The Act is substantially similar to legislation previously 
reported favorably by the Committee in 2016. In the 114th 
Congress, Senator Klobuchar introduced S. 2553 on February 11, 
2016. S. 2553 was cosponsored by Senators Fischer, Schatz, 
Cornyn, Cruz, and Thune. On April 27, 2016, the Committee 
included a version of S. 2553 in a substitute amendment to S. 
2644, the FCC Reauthorization Act, which the Committee approved 
as amended by voice vote.
    In the House of Representatives, Representative Gohmert 
introduced H.R. 4167 in the 114th Congress. The bill, which had 
four original cosponsors, was substantially similar to S. 2553. 
On May 23, 2016, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4167 
on suspension by voice vote, and the bill was subsequently 
received by the Senate.

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 123--Kari's Law Act of 2017

    S. 123 would require new telephone systems that have 
multiple lines to allow callers to access 9-1-1 services 
directly, without needing to dial any other numbers or codes. 
This requirement would apply to entities that manufacture, 
import, sell, lease, or install multi-line telephone systems, 
beginning two years after the date of enactment. Phones 
installed before that effective date would not have to be 
changed if the upgrade would require any improvement to the 
telephone system.
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 123 would have no 
significant effect on federal spending for telecommunications 
services or regulatory activities. Pay-as-you-go procedures 
apply because the bill could affect direct spending by the 
Postal Service, federal power agencies, and federal financial 
regulators, as well as revenues remitted by the Federal 
Reserve; however, CBO estimates that any such costs would be 
negligible. CBO estimates that enacting S. 123 would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    According to a 2016 report by the General Services 
Administration, federal phone systems serve about 4 million 
employees. Based on information from telecommunications service 
providers and federal agencies, CBO estimates that most of the 
government's multi-line phones (excluding those with national 
security protections) already are capable of dialing 9-1-1 
services directly. Because upgrading the remaining phones would 
involve improvements that qualify for the exemption in S. 123, 
CBO expects that any costs to upgrade federal telephone systems 
would not be significant.
    On the basis of an analysis of information from the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC), CBO estimates that 
implementing S. 123 would increase the costs of the FCC's 
regulatory and enforcement programs by less than $500,000. 
However, under current law, the FCC is authorized to collect 
fees sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory 
activities each year; therefore, CBO estimates that the net 
effect on discretionary spending for the FCC would be 
negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that 
authority.
    S. 123 contains intergovernmental and private-sector 
mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(UMRA). Based on information about current industry practices 
and about the existing scope of similar state requirements, CBO 
estimates that the aggregate cost of the mandates would fall 
below the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-
sector mandates ($156 million in 2017, adjusted annually for 
inflation). CBO estimates that the intergovernmental mandate 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The bill would impose private-sector mandates by requiring 
private entities responsible for manufacturing, importing, 
selling, leasing, or installing a multi-line telephone system 
(MLTS) to ensure that the system allows users to dial 9-1-1 
directly without first dialing any additional digit such as 
``9.'' In addition, entities that install such systems would 
have to ensure that MLTS systems provide an additional 
notification to a central location, either at the facility or 
otherwise, when a 9-1-1 call is placed if the system can be 
configured to do so without technical upgrades. Based on 
information from industry sources, most MLTS systems already 
are configured to meet these requirements. In addition, several 
states and some local governments already have laws that 
require direct dialing for 9-1-1 from MLTS systems. Therefore, 
the incremental costs associated with updating systems to meet 
the bill's requirements would be small.
    The bill would preempt state laws that govern the default 
configurations of a multi-line telephone system for 9-1-1 phone 
calls. Although the preemption would limit the application of 
state laws and regulations, CBO estimates that the mandate 
would impose no duty on state, local, or tribal governments 
that would result in additional spending or a loss of revenues.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Stephen Rabent 
(for federal costs), Rachel Austin (for intergovernmental 
mandates), and Logan Smith (for the private-sector mandates). 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    Persons engaged in manufacturing, importing, selling, 
leasing, or installing multi-line telephone systems would be 
covered by the bill's requirements and subject to FCC 
enforcement for failing to comply with the Act.

                            economic impact

    S. 123 was crafted to minimize undue burden on affected 
parties, and the cost of the bill's requirements to 
manufacturers, importers, sellers, lessors, and installers of 
multi-line telephone systems would be modest. Such costs are 
outweighed by the positive economic benefit derived from 
improved emergency communications, which would lead to more 
efficient public safety efforts and better protection of life 
and property.

                                privacy

    The reported bill is not expected to have an adverse effect 
on the personal privacy of any individuals.

                               paperwork

    The Committee does not anticipate an increased paperwork 
burden on regulated entities as a result of this legislation.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.


                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would establish the bill's short title as the 
``Kari's Law Act of 2017.''

Section 2. Default configuration of multi-line telephone systems for 
        direct dialing of 9-1-1.

    This section would prohibit a person engaged in the 
business of manufacturing, importing, selling, or leasing 
multi-line telephone systems from manufacturing or importing 
for use in the United States or from selling or leasing or 
offering to sell or lease in the United States a multi-line 
telephone system unless the system's technology provides the 
specified capabilities for direct access to 9-1-1 and local or 
designated notification.
    The section also would prohibit a person engaged in the 
business of installing multi-line telephone systems from 
installing such a system unless upon installation the system 
allows a call that is initiated when a user dials 9-1-1 from 
any station equipped with dialing facilities to be transmitted 
to the appropriate public safety answering point without 
requiring the user to dial any additional digit, code, prefix, 
or post-fix, including any trunk-access code (such as the digit 
``9''); and regardless of whether the user is required to dial 
such a digit, code, prefix, or post-fix for other calls. The 
section, though, would not prohibit the configuration of a 
multi-line telephone system to allow access to 9-1-1 through 
other emergency dialing patterns, provided that the dialing 
pattern 9-1-1 remains available to users.
    The section also would require a person engaged in the 
business of installing multi-line telephone systems to 
configure the systems so that when a person at the facility 
where the system is installed initiates a call to 9-1-1 using 
the system, the system provides a notification to a central 
location at the facility or to a person or organization with 
responsibility for safety or security for the location as 
designated by the manager or operator of the system. This 
requirement would apply when the system is able to be 
configured to provide such notification without an improvement.
    The section would give the FCC authority to prescribe 
regulations to carry out the Act, and would require that such 
regulations, to the extent practicable, promote the purposes of 
the Act in a technologically neutral manner.
    The section provides that the Act would be enforced under 
title V of the Communications Act of 1934, except that section 
501 would apply only to the extent that section 501 provides 
for the imposition of a fine.
    Neither the Act nor any regulations prescribed under the 
Act would prevent any State from enforcing any State law that 
is not inconsistent with the Act.
    The Act would apply with respect to a multi-line telephone 
system that is manufactured, imported, offered for first sale 
or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after the date 
that is 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

               TITLE VII OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934


                        [47 U.S.C. 601 et seq.]

SEC. 721. DEFAULT CONFIGURATION OF MULTI-LINE TELEPHONE SYSTEMS FOR 
                    DIRECT DIALING OF 9-1-1.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\This amendment would apply with respect to a multi-line 
telephone system that is manufactured, imported, offered for first sale 
or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after the date that is 2 
years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  (a) Definitions.--In this section--
          (1) the term ``multi-line telephone system'' has the 
        meaning given the term in section 6502 of the Middle 
        Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (47 
        U.S.C. 1471); and
          (2) the term ``public safety answering point'' has 
        the meaning given the term in section 222(h).
  (b) Multi-Line Telephone System Functionality.--A person 
engaged in the business of manufacturing, importing, selling, 
or leasing multi-line telephone systems may not manufacture or 
import for use in the United States or sell or lease or offer 
to sell or lease in the United States a multi-line telephone 
system unless the technology of the system has the capabilities 
described in subsections (c) and (e).
  (c) Multi-Line Telephone System Installation.--A person 
engaged in the business of installing multi-line telephone 
systems serving locations in the United States may not install 
such a system in the United States unless, upon installation, 
the system allows a call that is initiated when a user dials 9-
1-1 from any station equipped with dialing facilities to be 
transmitted to the appropriate public safety answering point--
          (1) without requiring the user to dial any additional 
        digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, including any trunk-
        access code (such as the digit 9); and
          (2) regardless of whether the user is required to 
        dial a digit, code, prefix, or post-fix described in 
        paragraph (1) for other calls.
  (d) Other 9-1-1 Emergency Dialing Patterns.--Nothing in this 
section shall prohibit the configuration of a multi-line 
telephone system so that other 9-1-1 emergency dialing patterns 
will also initiate a call to a public safety answering point, 
provided that the dialing pattern 9-1-1 remains available to 
users.
  (e) On-Site Notification.--
          (1) In general.--A person engaged in the business of 
        installing multi-line telephone systems serving 
        locations in the United States, in installing a system 
        described in paragraph (2) in the United States, shall 
        configure the system so that when a person at the 
        facility where the system is installed initiates a call 
        to 9-1-1 using the system, the system provides a 
        notification to--
                  (A) a central location at the facility; or
                  (B) a person or organization with 
                responsibility for safety or security for the 
                location as designated by the manager or 
                operator of the system.
          (2) Application.--A system described in this 
        paragraph is a multi-line telephone system that is able 
        to be configured to provide the notification described 
        in paragraph (1) without any improvement to the system.
  (f) Regulations.--
          (1) Authority.--The Commission may prescribe 
        regulations to carry out this section.
          (2) Technologically neutral.--Regulations prescribed 
        under paragraph (1) shall, to the extent practicable, 
        promote the purposes of this section in a 
        technologically neutral manner.
  (g) Enforcement.--This section shall be enforced under title 
V, except that section 501 applies only to the extent that the 
section provides for the imposition of a fine.
  (h) Effect on State Law.--Nothing in this section or in 
regulations prescribed under this section shall be construed to 
prevent any State from enforcing any State law that is not 
inconsistent with this section.

                                  [all]