The Vacation Rental Industry applied its resources to pressure the 2017 Legislature to roll back regulation to 2011 to what effectively eliminated all local authority to regulate vacation rentals.
The Vacation Rental bills that sought to roll back local home rule failed to pass by the session’s close on Monday 5/7. The industry and their lobbyists could not muster a majority of Senators to pass the House bill, HB 425. The House bill had passed on Friday, April 28 by a 63 to 56 vote, the smallest margin of winning in the House since the bill was introduced. When the House passed version came to the Senate for consideration, eleven amendments were introduced in the Senate between Tuesday May 2 at 4 pm and Thursday May 4 at 10 am. The flurry of amendments was either to confuse members or to shop proposals to secure a majority of votes. That all failed.
One of the key reasons that the Senate did not take up either Representative La Rosa’s or Senator Steube’s proposals was that more and more Senators realized that local regulatory authority was needed to protect neighborhoods. The outpouring against their bills from community associations, residents, and local governments was critical in creating this legislative awareness.
With no success, the Vacation Rental industry is likely to bring the issue back next year. The hopeful sign is that more people now understand what is at stake. There were coalitions formed in various areas of the state to fight this move to strip local authority. These groups and constituencies are likely to re-form for next year’s fight. This legislative session showed there is broad based grassroots support in favor of reasonable controls over vacation rentals by our locally elected government officials.
Our recommendation is to reach out to the members of the Legislature in your home district that supported our views to preserve home rule for neighborhood stability, character and quality of life. We will need them again.
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