MAFP Legislative Liaison Matt Black testified before the Michigan House Judiciary Committee on December 10 in opposition to legislation that, if passed, would establish new regulations for prescribing emotional support animals and punishments for failing to adhere to the regulations.
As currently written, House Bill 4910 would allow any health professional licensed under Article 15 of the Public Health Code to prescribe an emotional support animal.
"While MAFP supports the intent of the bill—to prohibit individuals from falsely representing to a landlord that they have a disability or are using an emotional support animal—we feel the definition of healthcare provider as currently included in the bill is far too broad and should be narrowed to physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, and mental health professionals," said Matt.
MAFP also strongly opposes the provision in the bill requiring a physician to deliver a notarized statement to the patient’s landlord, upon request, affirming that the individual is his/her patient who has a medical disability necessitating treatment with an emotional support animal.
Individuals and healthcare providers who knowingly violate provisions of the bill would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, and/or community service for up to 30 days.
The House Judiciary Committee did not vote on HB 4910 and will continue to work with the bill sponsor and stakeholders to amend the legislation before proceeding. The bill previously passed the House Regulatory Reform Committee by a unanimous vote.