Statement from Vermont Chamber Vice President of Tourism Amy Spear on S.79 Veto

Montpelier, VT (July 2, 2021) –

“We are surprised and disappointed by Governor Scott’s veto of S.79. The Administration did not indicate they had a serious problem with the bill, which had a wide range of supporters, at any point during the 2021 legislative session. The sudden change of course is difficult to understand, considering several Administration officials publicly offered support [1] for the legislation over the last few months.

S.79 would have ensured a safe rental environment while also moving Vermont toward greater regulatory equity in the lodging marketplace. As an example, licensed lodging properties were subject to onsite visits from officials throughout the pandemic for compliance checks. Short-term rentals (STR) were exempt from this because they are permitted to operate anonymously; owners could not be contacted and there is no system in place for open lines of communication with the State. With thousands of STR units in Vermont, we believe it is important that these property owners receive communications on how to ensure the health and safety of the traveling public.

Vermont’s lodging businesses have suffered disproportionately throughout the pandemic, yet they have been public health champions. The passage of this bill would have provided a glimmer of hope for licensed lodging properties and would have demonstrated that the Administration understands the need to level the playing field for businesses providing overnight accommodations. The Vermont Chamber will continue advocating for the establishment of an STR registry when the Legislature reconvenes.”

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About the Vermont Chamber of Commerce

The largest statewide, private, not-for-profit business organization, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce represents every sector of the state’s business community. Its mission is to create an economic climate conducive to business growth and the preservation of the Vermont quality of life.

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[1] A review of recorded testimony offered by the Administration shows Department of Housing and Community Development Housing Program Administer Shaun Gilpin explaining the benefits of the bill for BIPOC homeownership and saving costs through the establishment of a rental registry and Department of Health Public Policy Advisor Shayla Livingston explaining the Department had no objections to the bill. These are just two of several examples of Administration officials speaking favorably of the bill.

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