February 22, 2020
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Legislative panel says no to regulating vacation rentals

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Legislature appears ready to send packing a bill that would impose state regulations on short-term vacation rentals.

The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted 12-0 the measure ought not pass, the committee clerk said Monday. One committee member has yet to cast a vote after a work session held Monday.

The committee held a public hearing last week in which lodging business owners turned out to support the legislation while a much larger contingent of people who rent out rooms through programs such as airbnb or rent out cabins argued against new regulations.

Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, sponsored LD 436, saying it was necessary for the safety and health of the public and out of fairness to lodging businesses that are required to obtain state licenses.

Nicole Fuller of Rockland, who rents out a room in her home, said the proposed regulations were inappropriate for homes and were fueled by special interests.

“The DHHS committee acknowledged this. Hopefully Rockland will follow suit,” she said, referring to the Rockland City Council considering licensing short-term rentals in the community.

Holly Lusk, senior health policy adviser for Gov. Paul LePage, said during the public hearing that the governor did not support the legislation before the panel, preferring instead to remove any licensing requirements currently in place for lodging businesses.


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