Vacation rental legislation moves forward in state Senate

Anna Maria Island elected officials have ears in Tallahassee.

And they are staying tuned to the ongoing session of the Floriday Legislature.

Senate Bill 1400, introduced by Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, and David Simmons, R-Seminole, passed the second of three committees Feb. 8.

The bill would place vacation rental regulations with the state, including licensing and inspections.

Steube failed to pass a bill in the 2017 session that would have nullified a majority of vacation rental regulations enacted in Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. All three cities hired lobbyists to fight the measure.

In December 2017, Steube and Simmons introduced a new bill proposing assigning oversight of vacation rental regulations to the Florida Department of Professional Regulation Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

The bill passed the community affairs committee Jan. 30 in a 4-2 vote. It passed the regulated industries committee Feb. 8 with a 9-1 vote.

The bill is now before the appropriations committee. If approved there, it will move to the Senate floor.

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, chair of the appropriations committee, did not respond Feb. 9 to requests for comment.

Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-Osceola, introduced a companion bill in the House. The bill was introduced Jan. 9, but has not been referred to subcommittees.

Anna Maria Commissioner Carol Carter attended the Senate Community Affairs meeting Jan. 30 in Tallahassee.

Carter said Steube and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, “had determined how things would go” and prevented Simmons from introducing an amendment that would have weakened state control over vacation rental legislation.

Simmons also sits on the appropriations committee.

Mayor Dan Murphy said Feb. 8 it is important for opponents of the legislation to “continue our blitzing with emails and phone calls.”

“Prayers are needed for our small cities,” Carter said.

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