A bill that would allow students with disabilities to take their service animals on school buses was signed into law Monday by Gov. Chris Christie.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, was proposed by Samantha Gill, of Northfield, whose daughter, Adalynne, 4, has a service dog named Data, a goldendoodle.
Gill told The Press of Atlantic City in October that she brought up the bill proposal to Mazzeo after realizing that state law currently permits service animals in school buildings and on school grounds, but does not specifically include school buses.
Her daughter has been allowed to take her dog on the school bus, and Gill testified in Trenton on behalf of the bill in October to support guaranteeing all eligible students the same service.
“We are so happy and proud of Addie’s Law.” Gill said in an email Monday.
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. The animal must be properly licensed and vaccinated, and be under a handler’s control via a leash, tether or other suitable means at all times.
“This will ensure that New Jersey aligns with what federal law prescribes,” Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, said in a statement following the bill signing. “What’s more important, however, is our commitment to ensuring that students with disabilities can have the highest quality of life possible and access the same opportunities as their peers.”
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