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New law helps protect persons with disabilities using service animals


Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law Service Animals for Persons with Disabilities to help ensure people with disabilities, including veterans, who use service animals in Michigan won’t be refused entry to businesses, schools, hospitals or other public accommodations.

The law clarifies rules regarding use of service animals, updates terminology so it is in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and makes it easier for establishments to determine who is legally entitled to accommodation.

“Many veterans return from their service with hidden disabilities... that aren’t immediately apparent, but are just as real and limiting as other injuries,” said Matt Wesaw, Director, Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). “This law will help anyone who relies on a service animal [not to] worry that they’ll be confronted or blocked from exercising their right to a service animal under the ADA.”

Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 18, 2016, any person using a service animal may register with MDCR. Once MDCR verifies the application, it provides a patch to identify the animal, and a voluntary ID card for the individual. MDCR already uses its complaint system to take reports of problems encountered by anyone with a disability using a service animal. Under the new law, MDCR will also accept reports from businesses and other public accommodations of someone impersonating an individual with a disability using a service animal, and may refer criminal violations to law enforcement agencies.

MDCR will issue guidelines for those who wish to request a patch and ID card prior to implementation,; the information will be at www.michigan.gov/mdcr.

 

Bransdorfer elected to office in State Bar Family Law Section
 

At the State Bar of Michigan (SBM) annual meeting, on Oct. 8, Mika Meyers attorney Elizabeth K. Bransdorfer was elected Recording Secretary of the SBM Family Law Section. Bransdorfer  has been a member of SBM since 1985, and a member of the Family Law Council since 2010.

She specializes in litigation and alternative dispute resolution, with a practice emphasis on domestic relations, and is also trained in Collaborative Practice.