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From Sen. Annette Sweeney’s newsletter:

One of the bills passed in the Senate this week was Senate File 341, which will bring much needed change to the current protections for service animals and assistance animals in housing and public places. This bill has been worked on for over a year as we hear more and more stories of actual service animals being attacked in a public place by an untrained pet wearing a vest purchased on the internet. Our goal is to ensure our veterans and civilians with disabilities are able to go about their lives without having to worry about whether or not the other animal is a trained, professional, working service dog.

Another bill passed on the floor this week was Senate File 548. This bill ensures private individuals do not have to compete with another private entity that has the unfair advantage of using taxpayer dollars to reduce the total amount owed when purchasing property. Currently, an individual borrowing money at the market interest rate is going to have to pay significantly more to purchase property than an organization that has access to state funds in order to obtain a 0% or .25% interest rate on their loan, even if both entities are paying market value.

There has been a lot of misinformation about what this bill does. The bill does not do anything to inhibit land purchasing for water quality or conservation by local governments or watershed protection organizations. It only ensures a private conservation organization is using those state and federal dollars to install water quality practices, not to help it purchase land.