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Senate takes up short-term rentals

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

The Texas Legislature put a number of Austin regulations in the hot seat on Tuesday. In addition to proposed rules for ride-hailing companies and grocery store plastic bag bans, the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce also took up a bill that could abrogate the city’s policy on short-term rentals. The committee had met on Tuesday morning but recessed just before noon before taking up state Sen. Kelly Hancock’s Senate Bill 451 in order for the members to join the full Senate in its marathon discussion of SB 6, otherwise known as the bathroom bill. The committee reconvened in the evening and heard from SB 451 opponent Mayor Steve Adler and supporter City Council Member Ellen Troxclair. Troxclair explained that the city’s rules – which cap the number of certain STRs – inhibit property owners’ economic freedom. “The majority of stories that we heard were not from evil corporate investments,” Troxclair said. “They were local Austinites who were using a short-term rental as a way to help them afford to live in our city.”

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