Dear Constituents –
After months of discussion and debate, the General, Housing, and Military Affairs committee passed by a vote of 8-3-0 S.79, a comprehensive bill to improve rental housing health and safety. There are pieces contained in this legislation to like – namely, clearer exemptions to the eviction moratorium that will help landlords in certain extenuating circumstances and incentives for property owners to rehabilitate vacant or blighted housing stock, as well as a program to encourage first-time home ownership. As with most legislation this session, there are also pieces that I could not support, and the negatives outweighed the positives this time. This legislation establishes up to 6.5 new positions in State government for the registration of all rental properties and the enforcement of inspections on those properties, along with the associated appropriation of State dollars and required fees to pay for this expansion of government. At a time when we are receiving unheard of amounts of money for economic relief, I find it particularly distasteful to further raise revenue by requiring increased fees from landlords and short-term rental owners. This bill has been sent on to House Ways and Means, as it affects the revenue of the State, and it should be up for a vote of the full House next week. The Senate must concur with the House before it can be sent on for the Governor’s consideration to be signed into law – the journey is not over yet!
At the end of the week, we discussed H.313 as it will be coming back from the Senate, which is our miscellaneous alcohol bill. There will be more testimony about distribution of low-alcohol “canned cocktails” and also direct to consumer shipping of spirits next week.
On the House Floor, after considerable discourse, a bill to ban chemical PFOAs and PFAs in consumer products was passed unanimously, along with a few others that elicited little to no discussion. Several more bills were referred to money committees or back to the committees of jurisdiction that asked for more time to go over amendments proposed by the Senate.
This morning’s Tourism Caucus focused on relief funding for businesses, and what we as a Caucus could do to provide support for legislation that is being proposed, specifically for language in H.315 and H.159.
Representative Lisa A Hango