In a very bold move, the Colorado Legislature is attempting to take on abuses of the FHA’s emotional support animal requirements. Recently Representative Willett introduced HB 16-1201, which would require medical professionals recommending an emotional support animal for a patient to make certain findings prior to granting permission for an emotional support animal. The findings the medical professional would be required to make include:
- That the patient has a disability as defined in C.R.S. 24-34-301(2.5); or that
- There is insufficient information available to make a finding regarding the disability.
In making the above findings, the proposed bill requires that, “a licensee shall not make a determination related to subsection (1) of this section unless the licensee has met with the patient in person.” This requirement would prevent the use of online services offering to diagnose a patient with a disability without actually seeing the person, which has become very problematic for some associations when dealing with emotional support animal claims.
If this bill passes and becomes law, it will be interesting to see how the Federal Government interprets the requirements of this bill in relation to the Fair Housing Act.
This bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Health, Insurance & Environment and does not have a senate sponsor yet, so the future of this bill is not certain. Stay tuned as we follow this bill with great interest.