March 23, 2017 By Senator Laura Thielen
The Airbnb and vacation rental bill is becoming one of the “down to the wire” bills that will be decided in the mysterious Conference Committee process.
But yesterday, things got a bit more interesting and, for me, a little personal.
In the first half of Session the House took Airbnb’s proposed bill, amended it a bit, and moved it to the Senate. Meanwhile, the Senate moved the Airbnb bill to Ways and Means, where it died. So Airbnb didn’t have a Senate bill move to the House.
But my vacation rental bill did go to the House. SB 704 established a working group of community, industry, vacation rental operators, state and county to identify:
How vacation rentals are affecting our housing market today, and if they keep up this growth rate, in the future.
How to protect state and county funded affordable rentals from becoming vacation rentals (it’s happening already folks – your tax dollars at work!).
How to manage vacation rentals in this Internet world.
How to protect safety of residents and visitors (disaster preparedness), and the Hawaii visitor brand.
Last week our Senate Committees posted the House Airbnb bill for a hearing. But the Senate Committee Chairs also posted a proposed Senate Draft 1. By doing this, everyone had notice before the hearing that the Senate was considering dramatically changing the bill. Everyone sees the changes. The public has the chance to testify at the hearing on BOTH the original bill and the proposed draft.
We held the Senate hearing yesterday, and voted to pass the Senate proposed draft, with some changes based on the public testimony.
Meanwhile, in the House… They posted notice to hear my vacation rental bill. Then at the hearing:
Your Committee has amended this measure by deleting its contents and inserting the substantive provisions of House Bill 1471.
Gut and replace, with no advance notice. My bill is now the Airbnb bill, as modified by the House.
If both bills pass their final committees, they will end up in conference committee. We’ll see what comes out. IMHO, this is an issue people will have to watch very closely up to the very end.