Governor Cooper lets hotel safety bill become law without signature

Governor Cooper lets hotel safety bill become law without signature

March 17th, 2023

Governor Roy Cooper has allowed a bill to become law without his signature that addresses the increasing numbers of families or low-income people that are using hotel rooms or campsites for long-term lodging due to the affordable housing shortage.

Senate Bill 53 passed both the House and Senate last week on bipartisan votes, was the second attempt to amend state law sought by the lodging industry. A similar bill was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper last year.

Current law does not grant tenants in short-term accommodations who stay beyond 90 days similar protections from eviction as tenants of long-term rentals.

The measure “clarifies that occupants of accommodations provided by hotels, motels and similar lodgings do not create a tenancy and are not subject to Chapter 42 of the General Statutes, and to clarify that these occupancies are governed by the statutes relating to inns, hotels, and other transient occupancies”.

The bill also adds recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds to the statute.

Supporters told a Senate committee in February that fewer innkeepers will be willing to accommodate long-term guests without more restrictions and requirements, while opponents called for additional provisions such as a 24-hour notice before eviction.

“This bill was given broad support in the legislature and there are potential positive modifications being discussed by legislators,” Cooper said in a statement issued Friday.

“However safe housing is sometimes only available from temporary shelter such as hotels, and I remain concerned that this bill will legalize unfair treatment for those who need protection, and this will prevent me from signing it,” Cooper said.

All members of the Greater Outer Banks delegation to the General Assembly, Senators Bobby Hanig (R-Currituck) and Norm Sanderson (R-Pamlico) and Represenatives Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort) and Bill Ward (R-Pasquotank) voted in favor of the final version of the bill.

Cooper also announced Friday he would not sign House Bill 40, that raises penalties for property damage caused by rioters.

“I acknowledge that changes were made to modify this legislation’s effect after my veto of a similar bill last year,” Cooper said. “Property damage and violence are already illegal and my continuing concerns about the erosion of the First Amendment and the disparate impacts on communities of color will prevent me from signing this legislation.”

Republicans have a supermajority in the Senate and are one seat shy in the House, meaning any veto by Cooper, a Democrat, faces little resistance to an override.

Bills that are not signed by the governor within ten days of passage while the General Assembly is in session automatically become law.

Posted in GOV
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