Cunningham ISPSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Cunningham advanced a measure in the Illinois Senate that makes it easier for callers to reach 9-1-1 from hotels and businesses during an emergency on Thursday.

“This initiative will help ensure a quick response during times of an emergency,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the Southwest Suburbs. “We are removing barriers that hinder people from calling 9-1-1 and making it easier for first responders to locate the caller.”

Under current law, multi-line telephone systems require dialing "9" or another number to reach an outside line. Places like businesses, hotels and government buildings use these systems to handle two or more calls coming in at the same time. Under the new law, MLTS vendors and manufacturers must configure new systems to support direct dialing 9-1-1.

The goal of this legislation is protect people and specifically children. In 2013, a women was killed in a hotel room by her estranged husband. Her daughter attempted to call 9-1-1 four times, but the calls never went through because the hotel’s multi-line telephone system required her to dial “9” before making an outbound call.  Illinois will follow suit with other states who have already passed this legislation.

House Bill 5502 will also update regulation on multi-line systems to provide accurate information about the caller’s location within a building or complex. Far too often, large hotels or complexes use multi-line systems and it is difficult for emergency response to get an exact location on the caller. This ensures people who need help during an emergency are able to be located by first responders.

“This legislation will save lives and could save your child’s life,” Cunningham said. “I want to thank the Illinois State Police for bringing this issue to our attention.”

House Bill 5502 passed the Energy & Public Utility Committee on Thursday and awaits further consideration before the full Senate.