Advocacy Update

Forrest Wall March 2021Written by HBA and AAM CEO, Forrest M. Wall, CAE

ESA Legislation Passes House – Push On In Senate
Legislation which would strengthen state law to help prevent the false representation of possession of an emotional support animal (ESA) has passed the Michigan House of Representatives! On a 108-0 vote the bill passed in late September and now moves to the Michigan Senate for consideration.

The legislation – House Bill 5751 – would create the “Emotional Support Animal Act.” First, the bill would define an emotional support animal and differentiate it from a service animal. An ESA would mean an animal that qualifies as a reasonable accommodation that is necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or residential property as described under the Fair Housing Act and Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act. Definitions for a health care provider as well as the scope of the provider-patient relationship are also included in the legislation.

Second, the bill proposes requirements for those health care providers who wish to certify a person’s need for an emotional support animal. Those requirements include:

  • The provider has an established relationship with the patient for at least 30 days before the provider can certify the need for an ESA.
  • The provider determines there is a need for an ESA

Third, the legislation states that a provider shall not receive a fee or other compensation solely in exchange for certifying a patient’s need for an ESA. It goes on to state that any certification is invalid if made solely in exchange for compensation for providing that certification, and, that a provider shall not falsely certify a person’s need for an ESA

Fourth, the bill outlines a required written notice for ESA registration that a provider must give which states that the registration does not qualify the animal as a service animal, and that false representation of an animal as a service animal or service animal in training violates the law.

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