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The Journal Press
Dog day afternoon in Virginia Senate
February 27, 2008

Newspaper Link

"H.B. 214, Public entities; rights of persons with disabilities, amends and reenacts 51.5-44 of the Code of Virginia. Specifically H.B. 214 adds “public entities, including schools,” to the list of public places in which persons with disabilities are entitled to the same full and free rights as other persons."


"Ebbin introduced H.B. 853 on behalf of a constituent that is part of a 3 Person Service Dog Team. The bill was heard in the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee prior to HB. 214 on Feb. 22.

At that time the committee added a substitution to the bill for clarification purposes that did not change the intent of H.B. 853.

The originally submitted H.B. 853 Service dogs; persons training entitled to be accompanied thereby in public places; would amend and reenact Virginia 51.5 – 44 to allow persons who are conducting continuing training of guide dogs, hearing dogs, or service dogs to the list of persons who are entitled to the right to be accompanied by such dogs in listed public places."

I saw at least one item in the article that I believe the reporter was in error on but that would be a normal thing to happen. Most reporters are not educated in the ADA and so they from time to time give the ADA credit for more than what is in fact written in the Act.

It must also be kept in mind that just because a law is passed in a State does not effect the Federal Law. So if a Service Dog is granted access to all classrooms in the State of Virginia it will not have bearing on Public Access of Service Dogs in classrooms in other States. Currently the Federal Law gives Public Access rights to the handler in parts of the school that are open to the public such as meetings or activities, not automatic right of a student to take a dog into the classroom.

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I'm glad to see Virginia passed this law.

I do wonder, though, whether people are going to attempt to abuse the second bill? Reading it, it sounds to me like trainers will be afforded the same public access rights while training an SDIT and working on further training with an already working service dogs, as the disabled handler. Does that sound correct, or am I reading it wrong?
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