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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
2:11 AM Wed, Dec. 19th

Editorial: New laws take effect today

A story on the front page gives you the idea of how many laws have been added or changed during this year’s legislative session. Below are a few more:

Always a hot topic in this region are service animals in restaurants, stores and food markets.

The Arizona Legislature altered laws this year that govern those service animals, specifically allowing businesses, especially restaurants, to tell an owner the animal must be removed if it is out of control or not housebroken.

The new rules take effect today.

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits privately owned businesses that serve the public from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA specifically requires businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed unless the business can demonstrate that making such modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of its goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations. Current statute conforms to ADA requirements and defines service animal as any dog or miniature horse that is trained to perform work or tasks to benefit an individual with a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Any person or entity that violates the rights of individuals who use service animals is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor (A.R.S. § 11-1024). 

Some of what the revision says:

  1. Requires service animals to always be leashed or harnessed unless:

a) the handler is unable to use a leash or harness due to the handlers disability; or

b) the leash or harness would interfere with the service animal’s ability to work.

2. Requires service animal to be under the handler’s control by voice control, signal or other effective means if the service animal is not able to be leashed or harnessed.

3. Allows a public accommodation to ask what work or task the service animal has been trained to perform.

4. Deems it not discriminatory for the operator of a public place to exclude a service animal if either of the following apply:

a) the animal is out of control and the handler is not taking effective actions; or

b)the animal is not housebroken.

A few other changes you might not know about that the legislature did this year:

• made it easier for auto insurance companies to drop policyholders whose business they no longer want;

• set up new rules for private operation of “drones’’ while restricting the ability of local governments to have their own laws;

• required medical marijuana dispensaries to post signs warning pregnant women of the effects of the drug;

• removed the $15 cap on what dealers can charge as a deposit on people who purchase new auto batteries but do not immediately have an old one to return;

• expanded the Arizona Supreme Court by two, to seven members;

• enacted a sales tax break for people who buy food for their own livestock;

• doubling the dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit that individuals can take for donations to certain charities.