Austin, TX (KMSS) — Gov. Rick Perry today signed House Bill 489, which allows individuals with disabilities to use the assistance of service animals in all public places, including retail businesses and restaurants, without having to show the qualifications or certifications of the assistance animal. The governor was joined by bill author Rep. Jose Menendez, sponsor Sen. Carlos Uresti and veterans Carol Anderson and Adan Gallegos for the signing ceremony.
"For veterans suffering from PSTD, a service animal can be a strong part of their recovery and a comforting presence in the midst of what can feel like chaotic and stressful situations," Gov. Perry said. "This bill is a smart way for us to give back and help any Texan, including our veterans, lead a healthy, productive life."
HB 489 ensures that people who use service animals will have access for their animals in all Texas establishments. Created as a measure to prevent discrimination, businesses and public facilities may inquire about the type of assistance provided by the animal for purpose of admittance, but cannot deny entry to the animal.
"As a veteran himself, I am pleased that the governor saw the importance of this bill for so many of our returning wounded warriors" Rep. Menendez said. "This bill is an important step in helping the growing number of disabled veterans, as well as others, who depend on service dogs in their daily lives, to have the same right of access to businesses and other public places that all citizens enjoy."
HB 489 becomes law on Sept. 1, 2013.