When lawmakers hit the road Saturday after ending the 2019 legislative session, they left behind hundreds of bills and issues that did not pass. But there’s always the 2020 session, which will start in eight short months.
short-term vacation rentals
A bill that would end Flagler County’s authority to regulate short-term rentals cleared its last House committee and appears headed for a clash with its Senate version, which is very different. If differences aren’t resolved, the bills die.
Flagler County’s vacation-rental regulations currently in place would be preserved according to a new version of a Senate bill the county had been fighting before. And a House bill may be dead.
Sen. Tom Lee, the seasoned chairman of the Community Affairs Committee, didn’t ant the bill rushed through debate, as had been the case on a previous occasion before Sen. Travis Hutson.
Flagler County government had staked its chances on killing the bill in this particular committee because Rep. Paul Renner, who represents Flagler, sits on the panel and had pledged to do what he could to halt the bill’s momentum.
A standing-room-only crowd at Saturday’s Hammock Town Hall urged Rep. Paul Renner to battle a legislative attempt to scale back local regulatory control of vacation rentals won through a 2014 law.
Sen. Travis Hutson had supported the 2014 law enabling Flagler County to regulate vacation rentals. His amendment, which he calls a “compromise,” would scale that back even though he sees no problems with local regulations or short-term rentals.
After a three-year battle, Flagler County government regained the right to regulate short-term rentals in the Hammock, which had become disruptive to local residents. Now the state is poised to take that authority away–again.
The county commission’s authority is limited but it plans to stiffen fines against vacation-rental rule violators. Lawmakers meanwhile, catching on to the controversy, may revert more regulatory authority to local governments.
Judge Orfinger denied an attempt by short-term vacation-rental owners and managers to stop county regulations from taking effect, though on one count he ruled that the ordinance may not apply to contracts signed before mid-February, when the ordinance was passed.