The legislative session ended on March 8th, and now many bills that passed both houses will go to the Governor for consideration.
One of those bills expands the definition of a service animal under state law. State law extends special protections to some kinds of service animals. Previously, that protection was limited to service dogs who assist people with hearing impairments or with vision impairments. SB 177, sponsored by Senator Reeves, connects the definition of service dog to the Virginians with Disabilities Act, extending protections to any service dog who assists someone who is mobility impaired or otherwise disabled as defined in state law. The state law definition is very similar to that found in the Americans with Disabilities Act: a person with a disability is defined as any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his major life activities, or who has a record of such impairment (Va Code 51.5-40).
The disAbility Law Center of Virginia seeks to advance the rights of people with disabilities in Virginia. The disAbility Law Center of Virginia promotes independence, choice, and self-determination by persons with disabilities. Contact us at info@dLCV.org or at 1-800-552-3962 for more information.