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Minutes for HB2152 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Creating the assistance animal integrity act.

Minutes Content for Mon, Feb 11, 2019

Natalie Scott, Assistant Revisor, provided an overview of HB2152.  She addressed questions from the membership. (Attachment 4)

Martha Smith testified in support of HB2152. She stated under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHAct) landlords are required to provide reasonable accommodation for assistance animals to allow a person with a disability or disability related need to enjoy the leased premises. Our concern is that individuals that are not eligible for reasonable accommodations for assistance animals are using this federal law to evade the landlord's policy for animals/pets. KMHA along with the Associated Landlords of Kansas (ALK) requested the attached bill draft to address a situation that landlords are faced with and that is an increasing number of individuals requesting reasonable accommodations for assistance animals. However, they are concerned the language which was suggested was not used so the bill is different that their original proposal.  The original proposal in is the attachment of Martha’s testimony. Ms. Smith addressed questions from the membership.(Attachment 5)

Ed Jaskinia testified in support of HB2152.  Mr. Jaskinia conveyed the sentiment of his organization to in order to help protect the rights of those who have a legitimate need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). He indicated the increasing abuse of that right by those who wish to circumvent "no pet" policies by obtaining on line certificates using false or misleading information could eventually cause the Federal Government to reevaluate, or even eliminate that right.  Mr. Jaskinia addressed questions from the membership. (Attachment 6)

Patrick Vogelsberg, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Kansas Association of Realtors submitted written testimony in support of HB2152(Attachment 7)

Mr. Kip Elliot testified in opposition to HB2152. He indicated it is inconsistent with federal law, including the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as guidance from Housing and Urban Development and Department of Justice.  Saying HB2152 amends and significantly expands KSA 39-1103 as amended in 2018, a section of the Kansas white cane law. New section 1 of HB2152 relates to the use of assistance animals in housing and primarily requires persons with disabilities to go above and beyond the requirements of federal laws, including the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. HB2152 protects landlords while significantly impacting Kansans with disabilities in housing. Mr. Elliot addressed questions from the membership. (Attachment 8)

Ami Hyten testified in opposition to HB2152 stating housing presents a particular area of concern for people with disabilities; the lack of accessible, affordable, integrated housing makes people with disabilities extremely anxious when their housing is threatened. There simply are too few other places they can go. Threats to the security of their housing are not theoretical; fair housing complaints for discrimination on the basis of disability lead all other types of fair housing concerns for Kansans. The extraordinary terms and conditions proposed in HB2152 would obviate some of the most critical aspects of fair housing protections extended under federal law.  Ms. Hyten addressed questions from the membership. (Attachment 9)

Chairperson Patton closed the hearing on HB2152.