Airbnb ban preemption bill in limbo after House vote

A bill that would restrict local units of government from outright banning short-term rentals like airbnb is in limbo, two days before the legislative session is slated to end.

In a Wednesday afternoon vote, the House voted 50-46 on an amended version of the measure—one vote shy of the constitutional majority needed to pass a bill: 51 votes.

The bill, which has had a rough ride in the legislature and has received both bipartisan support and opposition, hasn’t been technically defeated, since it hasn’t received 51 votes against it. It could still come up again for a vote.

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, said the bill was about property rights for homeowners who wish to rent out their spaces, and about “embracing this sharing economy.”

“At this point, I’m reviewing the bill and taking a moment to look at all the options that are on the table,” Lehman said in a statement. “There is a possibility the bill could be called for another vote or I can wait and try again in the future as I continue working on the proposal based on input from fellow members.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma, who seldom votes, did not cast what could have been the 51st and deciding vote.

The bill has slowly inched through both chambers. It failed to pass the House in February due to a lack of a constitutional majority. Then the initial version of the bill went on to pass the House with 53 votes and the Senate with 27 votes.

Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, which has been trying to restrict short-term rentals, said there is “nothing wrong with airbnb or short-term rentals.”

“The question is where it is appropriate and where it isn’t, and who’s in the best position in terms of level of government to determine that,” Torr said.

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