State Legislature Approves Service Dog Bill

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AUSTIN (AP) - The Texas Legislature has approved a measure ensuring that restaurants and food stores must allow service dogs, including those for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The House and Senate previously passed the proposal by San Antonio Democratic Rep. Jose Menendez. Both then approved Sunday a version reconciled in conference committee, sending the measure to Gov. Perry.

The measure limits how much employees can ask disabled people about the use of their dog — even those with PTSD, or other disorders that aren’t visibly obvious. It includes a $300 fine for discriminating against a disabled person.

It passed despite some lawmaker debate focused on whether restaurant and other business owners could face criminal penalties for simply attempting to verify that an animal is actually being used to assist a disabled person.

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