Witness testimony; accompanied by certified facility dogs. (SB420)

Introduced By

Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Mechanicsville) with support from co-patron Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Witness testimony accompanied by certified facility dogs. Provides that in any criminal proceeding the attorney for the Commonwealth or the defendant may request and the court may enter an order authorizing the use of a certified facility dog to aid a testifying witness, provided that the use of a certified facility dog will aid the witness in providing testimony and the presence and use of the certified facility dog will not interfere with or distract from the testimony or proceedings. The bill provides that the court may make any orders necessary to preserve the fairness of the proceeding, including imposing restrictions on and instructing the jury regarding the presence of the certified facility dog. The bill defines "certified facility dog" as a dog that (i) has completed training and been certified by a program accredited by Assistance Dogs International or another organization whose main purpose is to improve training, placement, and utilization of assistance dogs and (ii) is accompanied by a duly trained handler. This bill is identical to HB 482. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/09/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18101337D
01/09/2018Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/22/2018Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (10-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
01/22/2018Committee substitute printed 18104871D-S1
01/23/2018Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/24/2018Read second time
01/24/2018Reading of substitute waived
01/24/2018Committee substitute agreed to 18104871D-S1
01/24/2018Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB420S1
01/25/2018Read third time and passed Senate (30-Y 10-N) (see vote tally)
01/29/2018Placed on Calendar
01/29/2018Read first time
01/29/2018Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/15/2018Assigned Courts sub: Subcommittee #1
02/21/2018Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (8-Y 0-N)
02/23/2018Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (18-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/23/2018Committee substitute printed 18107299D-H1
02/27/2018Read second time
02/28/2018Read third time
02/28/2018Committee substitute agreed to 18107299D-H1
02/28/2018Engrossed by House - committee substitute SB420H1
02/28/2018Passed House with substitute BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
02/28/2018VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2018House substitute agreed to by Senate (31-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2018Title replaced 18107299D-H1
03/06/2018Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB420ER)
03/06/2018Signed by Speaker
03/09/2018Signed by President
03/15/2018Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 15, 2018
03/15/2018G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, April 9, 2018
03/30/2018G Approved by Governor-Chapter 699 (effective 7/1/18)
03/30/2018G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0699)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 7 minutes.