ESA Weekly News March 24th: New ESA Bills Passed in Michigan

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emotional support dog reading esa weekly news paper

A lot is going on in the world right now with the coronavirus outbreak. But we’re still carving out time to bring you the latest scoop on emotional support animal news. Today is our turn to report on two new bills introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. Are you ready to start your morning with us?

Lawmakers in Michigan Push for Tighter ESA Rules 

On March 17th, two bills passed in the Michigan House of Representatives. These new pieces of legislation aim to make the misrepresentation of ESAs even harder. The decision has come at a time when landlord and business-owner complaints are at an all-time high.

Back in October 2019, we reported that Michigan lawmakers were debating tighter rules for ESAs. At the time, House Bill 4090 had bipartisan support but was in its infant stages. Now, things have changed.

HB 4090 passed this week with 59 votes in favor and 33 against. On the same day, House Bill 4091 was also passed in a bipartisan effort. It received 67 votes in favor and only 26 against.

man petting emotional support cat

But how will these laws affect the lives of Michigan residents? For starters, it’s important to point out that Michigan will continue to be ESA-friendly. The Fair Housing Acts and Air Carrier Access Act will still be in place.

The real change will come to what a landlord is allowed to ask of a tenant with an ESA. If these bills are enacted, landlords can request documentation from the tenant’s health care provider. This slip will have to prove the tenant has a legitimate mental or emotional disability that requires companionship from an ESA. This is more commonly referred to as an “emotional support animal letter.”

If a person forges these documents, there will be harsh consequences. They could be evicted and be charged with a misdemeanor offense. This would either carry a 90-day prison sentence, a fine of up to $500, and up to 90 days of community service.

Now, these two bills are moving forward to the Senate for the next round of voting.

woman with her emotional support animal dog

Source: https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/03/pheasant-stamps-emotional-support-animals-and-other-issues-michigan-lawmakers-took-up-amid-coronavirus-outbreak.html

CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

We’re always for tighter control of emotional support animals. Unfortunately, there are too many people passing off their pets as legitimate ESAs. This hurts those who need an assistance animal to live a happy and well-balanced life.

Now, we will have to wait and see if these bills go through the Senate onto the Governor’s desk. If they do, it would be a victory for all legitimate ESA owners.

If you have a mental or emotional disability, CertaPet can help you. We can connect you with a licensed mental health professional. They would be the ones issuing your ESA letter, which would give you the right to live and travel by plane with your animal companion.

To get started, take our 5-minute pre-screening. We’ll put you in touch with a therapist, who will take the process on from there!

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