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Florida Session Update #6

Advocacy News ,
 Florida Legislative Session Update #6

Emotional Support Animal Legislation Passes House

 
FAA's 2020 legislative priority to reduce emotional support animal (ESA) fraud (SB 1084) has been unanimously passed by the state House of Representatives. The Senate passed the bill last week. The final step for this legislation is approval by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
 
  • This important legislation would establish a criminal penalty for falsifying an emotional support animal and codify the right for property owners to ask for reliable documentation from a licensed professional when an individual's disability-related need is not readily apparent.
  • SB 1084 passed the house today by a unanimous vote and advances to the governor's desk for his signature.
  • The bill was amended to ensure the text of the bill was consistent with HUD's newly released guidelines on assistance animals.
  • The definition of an ESA was updated to reflect the definition used in the new guidelines.
  • Language was added to allow telehealth providers who are licensed or registered within the state of Florida to verify the disability related need for an ESA.
  • Language was added to allow out-of-state providers to verify the disability-related need so long as the practitioner has provided in-person care or services to the tenant on at least one occasion and is acting within the scope of his/her practice.
  • Language was added to ensure an emotional support animal registration of any kind (identification card, patch, certificate) from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient information to reliably establish that a person has a disability or disability-related need for an ESA.
  • On February 26, the Senate voted to adopt two amendments for SB 1084, which mirror the language previously adopted by the House in HB 209.
  • On March 3, the Senate voted unanimously (40-0) to pass SB 1084.
 
For more information about the bills FAA is watching in 2020, please click here to see FAA's 2020 Legislation tracker or email amanda@faahq.org.