Republicans often push voluntary programs to avert the need for new regulations, with mixed success. In the case of Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai’s campaign to get hotels to allow direct 911 calls from their rooms, so far so good.
Pai was shocked when he learned that a 31-year-old woman, Kari Renee Hunt Dunn, was murdered by her estranged husband in a Marshall, Texas, hotel room in December 2013, despite her daughter’s efforts to call 911. The 9-year-old girl, who witnessed the stabbing, tried to call emergency responders four times but was unable to get an outside line because she didn’t realize she needed to dial 9 first.
Pai promised Hunt’s father he would remedy the situation and has since pressed major hotel chains to allow 911 calls to go through without requiring dialers to hit 9 first. Pai said many of the largest chains have agreed to do so by the end of 2015, including Country, Crowne Plaza, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Four Points, Gaylord Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, InterContinental, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Marriott Hotels, Motel 6, Park Plaza, Radisson, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Sheraton, Staybridge, W and Westin properties.