[nfb-talk] Fwd: [Nfb-legislative-directors] Proposed Changes to Service Animal Law Defeated
dandrews at visi.com
Fri Feb 20 05:34:21 UTC 2015
>This message was posted to our private list for
>Legislative Directors and helps answer the question: why the NFB?
>On Tuesday, February 18, the National Federation
>of the Blind of Arizona and other disability
>groups were alerted that an amended bill was
>scheduled for a committee hearing in the Arizona
>House of Representatives at 9:00 a.m. on the
>19th. The bill (HB 2179) included a Strike-all
>amendment, which meant that the original
>language of the bill would be replaced with new
>and unrelated language. If the bill were passed
>out of committee and subsequently passed into
>law, it would have fundamentally altered
>Arizonas service animal law (A.R.S. §11-1024). Proposed changes would have:
> * Required that individuals who use service
> animals obtain a permit from the Arizona
> Department of health Services in order to take
> their service animal in to a public place and
> that such permit be renewed on a regular basis.
> * As part of the permit process, an
> individual will be required to apply to the
> Department of Health Services and provide
> documentation from a medical professional
> certifying the applicant has a disability.
> * Required that a service animal wear a
> vest, also issued by the Department of Health
> Services at all times when in a public place.
> This vest will display permit information.
> * Allowed restaurants to block access for
> persons with service animals in order to meet
> local and or state health code regulations.
> * Required the Department of Health services
> develop a sign for restaurants to display
> indicating that service animals are not
> permitted and that a separate sign for other
> public businesses not serving food be created
> that indicates service animals are allowed.
> * Required the Arizona Department of Health
> Services to petition the United States
> Department of Justice requesting that the
> Americans with Disabilities Act be updated to comply with state law.
>The National Federation of the Blind of Arizona
>and several other disability groups reacted
>quickly and organized an effective response to
>the proposed legislation. NFBA has an active
>legislative committee, and along with members
>from the Tucson, Phoenix and East Valley
>chapters and its new guide dog
>division appeared at the Arizona state Capitol
>building prior to the start of the meeting in
>order to register as many people as possible to
>speak against the bill in the committee
>hearing. In addition, the legislative committee
>appealed to members that could not personally
>attend the meeting and asked them to email the
>committee chair and other committee members
>urging them to vote against the legislation. We
>were able to send out approximately thirty
>emails before the committee hearing started.
>During the hearing, the committee chair made it
>clear that his intent was not to pass
>legislation that imposed greater restrictions on
>persons with disabilities that require the use
>of service animals. He intended to craft a bill
>that punished bad actors, or those individuals
>who masquerade their pets as service animals for
>the sole purpose of taking them into places that
>prohibit pets. This intent was not evident in the wording of the bill.
>Many members of the NFBA and the other
>disability groups testified in opposition to the
>bill. All testimony given by the public
>indicated that the stated intent differed from
>that of the actual bill and that, as written,
>this bill violated the Americans with Disability
>Act. Testimony suggested that rather than
>advance a bad bill, a bill should be written
>that focused on the bad actors rather than persons with disabilities.
>Due to effective grass-roots advocacy by the
>NFBA and the other disability groups this bill
>was defeated with a unanimous vote of 8
>0. The committee members who commented on their
>votes cited the testimony given by the public as
>strongly influencing their votes.
>My thanks and gratitude goes out to everyone who
>participated in the committee hearing, sent emails and made phone calls.
>Donald Porterfield, Esq.
>First Vice President and Legislative Director
>National Federation of the Blind of Arizona
><mailto:donaldpfield at gmail.com>donaldpfield at gmail.com
David Andrews and long white cane Harry.
E-Mail: dandrews at visi.com or david.andrews at nfbnet.org
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