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Assembly Panel Oks Gusciora & Pinkin Bill to Ensure Hotel Guests Can Dial 9-1-1 Easily

(Trenton) – An Assembly panel approved on Thursday legislation Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Nancy Pinkin ((D-Middlesex) sponsored to bolster hotel guest safety by allowing direct dial to 9-1-1 in an emergency.

The sponsors introduced the legislation in response to a tragic incident in Texas when Kari Rene Hunt was stabbed to death in her motel room by her estranged husband. Kari’s oldest child, 9, attempted to dial 9-1-1 from the motel room, but was unaware that she had to first dial “9” to reach an outside line. The incident has brought national awareness of the need for hotels to have updated phone systems so that hotel guests can easily access 9-1-1 during an emergency.

“There’s no time to waste when a life is in danger,” Gusciora said. “It is extremely important for anyone, especially a child, to be able to use a phone system easily in an emergency. When a person dials 9-1-1, they should be able to get to emergency personnel.”

The bill (A-2726) requires each hotel phone system in the State to be converted to dial tone first system, which would allow a person making a phone call from a phone provided in a hotel guest room to dial 9-1-1 without first dialing any other digit.

“Every second counts in an emergency,” Pinkin said. “Any person should be able to dial 9-1-1 directly from a phone in a hotel room. In an emergency, not having to dial or remembering to dial “9” does make a difference when it means saving a life.”

The bill was released by the Assembly Homeland Security Committee.