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Home rule wins over short term rentals as Senate preemption bill withers

The measure failed amid lack of support from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A bill preempting short-term zoning for rentals was not heard in the final Rules Committee meeting, after consistent objections from local leaders and a lack of support from the Governor.

SB 1128, sponsored by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., was not heard Monday and likely won’t receive another opportunity to be heard this year.

Senate President Bill Galvano told reporters Tuesday that the bill was likely dead.

“If a bill was in Rules yesterday and it didn’t get out for whatever reason, that bill is in serious peril, if not unsavable,” Galvano said.

The President noted the “aggressive agenda” in Rules, a 62-bill slog lasting six hours.

“Some things make it, some things don’t,” Galvano said, likening the vacation rental preemption bill to a THC cap proposed for children that didn’t get traction Monday either.

“I don’t see how that bill gets revived,” Galvano said.

Galvano’s bearishness follows Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s comments about the issue last month.

The Governor told reporters that, while he has “not made a final decision,” he has “expressed privately to some of the members of the Legislature … concerns about that.”

“We’re going to be in charge of this as a state? We have 22 million people, almost. Very diverse state. For us to be micromanaging vacation rentals, I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do.”

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“Look, these are things where you’ll have kind of a quiet neighborhood and then you’ll have someone doing it and there’s parties going on and some of the residents get upset.”

“My view,” said DeSantis, “is probably that should be determined locally.”

“If you don’t like how they’re handling it, then you probably do that. So that’s probably where I’m leaning right now,” the Governor added.

The proposed legislation protects from local regulation rentals offered via an “advertising platform,” which provides software and online access to listings for “transient public lodging establishment[s]” in the state.

Just as the state regulates public lodging (hotels and motels) and food service establishments, so too would they regulate Airbnb, VRBO, and the like.

DBPR would, if the bill became law, take over for local regulators. However, staffing proposed to handle that additional burden is widely seen as insufficient.

The House bill (HB 1011) has cleared all three committees of reference and is ready for the floor, meaning the Senate could take it up.

But its path seems narrow at best given the Senate President’s comments.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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