03/27/19 -- HCS HB 107 -- Establishes penalties for violating laws regarding service animals

Bill Number: 
HCS HB 107
Bill Purpose: 
Establishes penalties for violating laws regarding service animals
Date of Vote: 
My Vote: 

HCS HB 107, introduced by Representative Chrissy Sommer (Republican - District 106) specifies that anyone that misrepresents a dog as a service dog for the purpose of receiving special accommodations is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable for any actual damages resulting from their misrepresentation.

This is a very good bill.  The American's with Disabilities Act currently forbids businesses from asking for proof or other evidence that an animal is in fact a legitimate service animal prior to providing accommodations.  As a result, many unscrupulous people have made a habit of taking pets or other non-service animals into retail establishments and demanding special treatment that they are not entitled to under the law.  This bill won't change the ADA's prohibition regarding providing proof prior to accommodation, however it will allow authorities to prosecute any violations that are otherwise discovered or disclosed.  While I don't believe such a prosecution will happen terribly often, there mere threat of being charged with a crime will likely deter many of the more casual abuse of the ADA that occurs.