Tourism Industry, Local Governments Oppose House Rental Bill

December 15, 2015

House

The tourism industry and local governments are lining up against a Republican bill that would prohibit communities from regulating homeowners who rent out their houses.

The measure, Senate Bill 446, is sponsored by GOP Sen. Frank Lasee, of De Pere, and Rep. Scott Allen, of Waukesha. Under the bill, communities would be unable to prevent or regulate instances where a person rents his or her primary residence to others for seven consecutive days or more.

SB446 is among a handful of bills introduced by Lasee and other GOP legislators in recent weeks – here and here – that seek to reduce environmental oversight and regulations, and bar local governments from enforcing or enacting ordinances that restrict construction projects and other activities by property owners.

The tourism industry is likely against the bill because allowing people to rent their houses to tourists and others would take away business from motels, hotels, and bread and breakfast establishments.

The legislature, which is in recess until next month, is controlled by Republicans – 19-14 in the Senate and 63-36 in the Assembly.

Though the measure has Republican sponsors, the tourism industry gives generously to Republican legislative and statewide candidates. Current GOP legislators accepted nearly $743,000 from the tourism industry and about $25,000 in campaign contributions from local government officials between January 2011 and June 2015. Lasee and Allen accepted a combined $7,775 in campaign contributions from tourism interests and local government officials between January 2011 and June 2015.