North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has signed legislation penalizing people who falsely claim that a pet is a service animal and a bill adding second cousins to the state's anti-corporate farming law.
The Republican governor signed House Bill 1259 Wednesday. Under the bill, people who attempt to gain admission to a public place or "obtain a reasonable housing accommodation" by masquerading their pet as a service animal will be guilty of an infraction, which carries a maximum fine of $1,000.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bernie Satrom, R-Jamestown, said it was meant to address what he said were increasingly common instances of service animal fraud. A veteran who has a service dog for post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury told a House committee earlier this session that the bill would make him feel safer in public.
A service animal is defined by federal law as a dog that has been "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability." Emotional support animals are not considered service animals.
Second cousins added to farm law
Burgum also signed a bill Wednesday adding second cousins to the state's anti-corporate farming law.
State law prevents corporations and limited liability companies from owning or leasing farm or ranch land and from “engaging in the business of farming or ranching,” with some exceptions. House Bill 1388 expands requirements that shareholders or members be related to each other to include second cousins.
Bill proponents said it was an attempt to protect family farms and the state's agricultural heritage.
The bill was opposed by the North Dakota Farmers Union. Its president, Mark Watne, previously argued it would weaken the law and noted voters rejected the 2015 Legislature's efforts to add exemptions for hog and dairy farms to the Depression-era statute.
Both bills take effect Aug. 1.