Governor Signs Legislation Allowing Service Animals on School Buses, New Law Conforms State Law to Federal Requirement

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Governor Chris Christie signed legislation,  P.L. 2015, c.29 (A-3690 / S-2601 (Mazzeo, Vainieri Huttle, Lampitt, Mosquera, Benson, Gordon, Ruiz)), March 23 which aligns New Jersey law with federal requirement which allows students with disabilities to board a school bus with a service animal. Previous law only permitted students with disabilities to enter classrooms and school grounds with service animals. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in services provided by state and local government entities.

The law will permit a school official to inquire as to whether the service animal is required due to a disability and what task or work the animal has been trained to perform, unless the disability and the animal's purpose are readily apparent.

 A school official may require:

  1. certification from a veterinarian that the service animal is properly vaccinated and does not have a contagious disease that may harm students or staff and
  2. documentation proving that the student has obtained any license the municipality in which he or she resides requires for the service animal.

The law will also require the animal to be under a handler's control via a leash, tether or other suitable means at all times.

The new law is effective immediately