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FL: Florida bill would effectively ban sex offenders from vacation rentals

[UPDATED links 2/26/18] [floridaactioncommittee.org]

A new bill concerning vacation rentals, HB 773, sponsored by Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud, is making it’s way through the Florida House of Representatives. (https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=768073.docx&DocumentType=Amendments&BillNumber=0773&Session=2018)

The bill, among other things, would require vacation rental owners to give 24-hour notice to residents who live within 1,000 feet of the properties that sex offenders will be staying at the rentals.

While it does not expressly ban sex offenders from vacation rentals in Florida, its effect would be that it would require vacation rental owners to inquire whether a prospective renter was a sex offender and then they literally have to notify every neighbor within a 1000 foot radius of their presence! Who would rent to a sex offender under those conditions?

Read more

Related links:

FAC questions Vacation Rental Bill [2/26/18]

Bill as of 2/26/18

 

 

 

Join the discussion

  1. Thwarted

    The Florida coasts is an amazing place to vacation. It is so beautiful. It’s good for the soul and I plan to enjoy it with my family once I’m done on paper, sure, we could vacation elsewhere, but it is a sentimental place for me and there really is nothing else like it. It’s my right as a free American, same as any other free American. See you there!!!

    • John

      As a Florida native, I agree. No place like it and I’m fortunate enough to not only have grown up at the beach, but still live only 10 minutes away from it. The state coast is beautiful, it’s the government that’s very ugly.

      • C

        I feel the same way about the Left Coast. From the mountains to the deserts to the beaches, this is God’s country.
        Sadly, we are poorly represented to the world by the idiocy of our politicians and Hollywood limousine-liberal hypocrites.

  2. Alex

    So they are not banning us from renting or vacationing, but vacation rental owners have to give notice of a registered citizen staying at a place ?? This is a bit like the IML scheme. They are not banning us from traveling, but it would be at the discretion of the country we’re traveling to when notified to let us in.
    What vacation rental owner is going to rent to a RSO once they have to do this ??? I also wonder if this would include hotels too and RSO that visit Florida from out of state ??

    Florida is right now at the crux of an assault guns crisis and this is what they come up with ?? These are the same people that do not want to discuss assault weapons, but in the very same day, it declared porn to be dangerous.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/02/21/florida-house-refuses-to-debate-guns-but-declares-porn-dangerous/?utm_term=.85ff7d686759

    I’m just glad this made the Washington Post so many readers can see how wack things are.

    • John

      860 + comments in that Washington Post link and the comments are awesome from the ones I read so far. People are furious with Florida law makers. Particularly the Republicans. It’s sad that the state has had mass murders due to assault weapons that made both National and world wide news, but they quickly shifted onto the issues of pornography as a top priority declaring it a danger. I’m speechless and even petrified by it.

    • Mary

      It broke my heart when I saw the video of Florida high school 16 year old Sheryl Acquaroli break out in tears when she saw the Florida house vote ” nay ” by 70+ votes on banning assault weapons right before her eyes and the rest of her class mates. This is her below in the video.
      https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/02/21/florida-school-shooting-survivors-demand-gun-control-sot-ac.cnn/video/playlists/florida-stoneman-douglas-school-shooting-reaction/

      Then right after they went into the supposedly dangers of viewing porn. What a sad state of affairs. These kids got a real taste of how politics works. These kids and their parents with the #neveragain movement are not going to let this go. They are strong now and will continue to power through for some real change.

      Republicans in Florida are fools if they think they will ban the porn industry out of Florida. With many of the huge and popular internet company players of the industry headquartered in South Florida. The more you try to repress something, the more demand for it. Take a quick lesson from this country’s history of some of its prohibitions.

      • Eric Knight

        Not getting off subject, but look how the anti-gun activists were doing exactly the same thing as the anti-RSO proponents did to try to pass permanent legislation based upon the emotions of a recent tragedy. Laws based upon greed, avarice, or ignorance of the fallout are more dangerous to all individuals than laws based upon rational discourse. Unfortunately, the state of politics is that the primary impetus to major law changes will always be based upon the irrational.

        • TS

          Seize the momentum while you can is the modis operandi.

          No better than ambulance chasers or paparazzi.

      • TS

        Remember, suspicion haunts the guilty mind. Projection is a action of one who is guilty themselves. Legislatures and Congresses are notorious for this, e.g. Foley (FLA), Hastert, and Weiner. FLA cannot let UT get ahead too far in claiming this is an epidemic, it could ruin their hypocrisy.

        Guns will always be a hot topic, but as this event is peeled back, the actions of those who didn’t act when they could will be debated and acted on because they can, will, and should be.

      • About the process

        The gun topic is still alive and will be discussed in committee where something usually starts anyway. If it gets to the floor, then it would have followed the process. To discuss it now on a wave of emotion, which is what politicians do, would potentially usurp the process and show favoritism in the future to topics one member or party felt was more important than others. The kids may view this vote negatively, in the long run, it shows the process in place and democracy working. Civics 101.

        Deciding porn is a health epidemic is another discussion altogether.

      • Tim Moore

        In Iran they beat people severly for alcohol use, yet it still remains a “problem”. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/11/world/middleeast/iran-alcohol-rehabilitation.html
        Also you can get hung or stoned for adultery, yet cheating on one’s spouse is on the rise in Teheran. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2012/08/dispatch-a-cheating-state-of-mind.html
        I think pornography is one other so deemed social ill that cannot be punished away. It can only be managed.
        I agree with you also about the assault rifle ban. I don’t see a link between banning rifles and the registry, and drawing a link is unwise, because it will simply makes us more unpopular than we already are to appear like we care more about people owning military toys than saving children’s lives.

      • Ted

        ” These kids and their parents with the #neveragain movement are not going to let this go. They are strong now and will continue to power through for some real change.”

        This is a good start in crippling some of the NRA’s benefits.
        https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/24/17048060/delta-united-airlines-national-rifle-association-travel-discount-discontinued-consumer-backlash

        • Which no one knew of

          @Ted

          Benefits that the average member didn’t know of so the impact is negligible to the airlines and more of a marketing ploy for the spring and summer flying seasons.

          Can the discussion stay on RC related issues and away from NRA which isn’t the topic of this forum?

      • AJ

        Raising the age for a weapon purchase will work as well as raising the drinking age. Whew, good thing underage drinking is a thing of the past!

        Like almost every, if not truly every, social issue, this is an Adaptive Challenge. Changing the buy-age is a Technical Solution. When you apply a Technical Solution to an Adaptive Challenge, the problem will invariably recur. See: https://www.sgaumc.org/files/files_library/technical_vs_adaptive_challenges.pdf

        There’s nothing wrong with a gun, or a bottle of beer. What’s “wrong” is what’s going on between a person’s ears, and how that thought process was cultivated.

    • PJ

      WoW! It is so ridiculous that it is just literally laughable. I know this is not funny in any sense, and please forgive me as I can’t help to laugh at its ridiculousness. Especially this from the article.

      “ He was saying porn as a health risk was more important to address here in the Florida legislature than the epidemic of gun violence,” Smith later told the Associated Press. “These are their priorities. I don’t understand the politics, to be honest, if I’m being honest. I’m not aware there’s a base of voters who are losing sleep every night over the epidemic of pornography as a public health crisis. ”

      If this is how they they think, then the Florida house and senate has become the scariest form of government in the whole entire nation for me. That’s some crazy shit.

      • TS

        FLA is a huge retirement state, as many know, and one of the leading sectors of STIs (aka STDs) is the retired community. The state gets ahead of this topic, even at this timing, sadly, there is all sorts of funding that could be allocated to combat it across the entire state in all communities.

  3. Registries for all! 😡

    Another sly little workaround by scumbag lawmakers. Just like International Megan’s Law does not “ban” you from International travel – you’ll just be declined entry to many countries. (You may travel all you like – you just can’t go anywhere!)
    Same thing here: offenders aren’t “banned” from using Florida vacation rentals, the law just makes sure that all hosts will decline your request for vacation stays.
    Another clever little workarounds intentionally designed to skirt judicial review. 😠

    (Even if hosts were willing to let you stay at their rental property, the neighbor notification requirement would set off a firestorm of public hysteria against all vacation rental units and the industry itself, thereby increasing hosts’ liability insurance costs and greatly impacting a significant source of income for Florida residents.)

  4. Registries for all! 😡

    Why hasn’t one of these scumbags proposed a “No Go” law to make it illegal for any convicted sex offender to use any public restroom, including on airplanes and buses? 😠

    • C

      Don’t worry, someone will at least try it.
      We see Cruise Lines, hospitals and the hospitality business banning us here and there. Last November I planned to take the family on a special train ride through the Arizona wilderness, but was stopped mid-purchase when I saw they require a background check at check-in. Can you believe it, for a lousy 2 hour ride on a flippen’ locomotive?

  5. TS

    It wouldn’t surprise me if other legislators are competing or trying to compete with Lauren and Ron Book for the attention they usual garner by introducing these types of laws. Lauren introduced the FLA three day registry law recently, then this one followed. A solution looking for a problem to solve.

    Also, the Gov is on his way out so he can sign these like Barry O did with IML and suffer no repercussions.

    Lastly, you may not be aware, but Lauren helped organize the student bus trips to Tallahassee to rally in the Capitol. She can parlay this into greater view of her own history going forward.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article201671659.html

    Make of this as you will.

    • Bobby

      It’s all part of Lauren Book’s political agenda to gain more kids and parents for her next save the children from sexual abuse rallys across Florida and throw more sexual offender bills in the coming years. Quite the spin to it and strategy. Just like her father Ron, she sees people as numbers.

  6. Fb

    Let this bill pass! It let’s people see how bad the laws are and will only bring more people to the cause. Since you can’t deny business service to an RSO, this will only inconvenience the property owner.

  7. Deb

    80,000 + registrants in Florida and their family members won’t be able to vacation. Not to mention also out of state registrants and their families with more new registered citizens added to that list annually. Florida being a popular vacation/tourist state full of vacation options and rentals, would that even be wise for its industry ?

  8. USA

    Disturbing article! I don’t live in Florida, but it seems like every time you turn around this State continues to ad stricter laws. As such, it’s a State that is clearly filled with hate and doesn’t believe in rehabilitation. Very disturbing. When people marry, start families, educate themselves and work, you typically see something occur called rehabilitation! Very childish. I don’t even know what to say.

  9. Agamemnon

    So a mentally ill, heavily armed man mows down 17 kids at a high school, but is FL passing any laws to restrict who can own firearms?

    No.

    Instead, they’ll harrass law abiding, reformed registrants out of renting a property for vacation.

    • Ted

      ” Instead, they’ll harass law abiding, reformed registrants out of renting a property for vacation. ”

      While simultaneously rescuing and saving us from this epidemic pornography crisis. Impressive!!! What would we ever do without our trusted and brilliant politicians ? Pffff….

  10. Joe123

    How do pure scumbags like this get into public service? A person would have to be a moron to follow this bullsh*t law and self-report.

  11. Nondescript

    It gets worse….
    Amendment added 2/22/18 regarding hotels and motels:

    509.1415 Sexual predators in public lodging establishments; duty to inform. The operator of any public lodging establishment shall inquire at check in if any guest of the public lodging establishment is a sexual predator as defined in s. 775.21(4). If any guest of a public lodging establishment is a sexual predator as defined in s. 775.21(4), the operator shall immediately inform all other guests of the public lodging.

    Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, questioned how the law would work noting it would mean he, his wife and children would have to answer the question as they checked into a hotel at Disney World.
    Pigman added, “How would this be executed without making Florida become the weirdest state in the world to come to and get a hotel room?”

  12. John

    This is so confusing. It seems there as if this would only apply to Sexual Predators and not Sexual Offenders. Florida has two categories for Registered Citizens. They are either labeled Sexual Predators (775.21) or Sexual Offenders (943.0435). In Florida, you have to be either one or the other. The other amendment of the bill mentions Sexual Offenders(943.0435) and this one mentions only Sexual Predators(775.21). This is just a bad bill, and even that lady rep. Cary Pigman is questioning how it will work. This will confuse Law Enforcement and others in the Justice system as well, just like every other bill that goes into law in FL.

    Disney prohibits Registered Citizens from entering their parks in Orlando. I don’t see how they will even let anyone stay at their resort hotels.

    • David Kennerly

      As with all, or virtually all, states, “predators,” just as with “sexually violent predators,” can simply mean that the victim is under 14. It suggests that those of us in this category are capable of tracking and consuming our prey like lions tearing across the savannah in pursuit of tasty, young gazelles. It’s simply more libel from the outrage machine.

      • John

        In Florida by statute/law you are either one or the other. They only have two groups. There is technically 3 groups (transient offenders) But those can be either one of the first two groups. It’s just that the authorities here have created that 3rd group name of RCs ” unofficially ” no thanks to the Books who caused them to be homeless.

        Now, If you are a sexual offender, then you are labeled with ” 943.0435 ” which is what I have marked on my Drivers license. first time offenses like L&L behavior, L&L molestation, L&L battery and some other names(but those are the common ones) with the victims ranging from 12-17 can get you the ” 943.0435 ” mark. Sexual offenders are seen as a bit less worrisome in FL than Sexual Predators. So they have ” a bit ” less restrictions or monitoring of sorts. But not too far. Even the police here would say, ” yea, just a bit less ” – That would also depend on the county and municipality you reside in (Some counties and municipalities are a ” bit ” more lax, then let’s say Polk County with Sheriff Grady Judd who gets a constant hard on for ” all ” registered citizens there regardless)

        Now, the Sexual Predator mark is ” 775.21 ” which used to be also marked on the Drivers licenses, but they amended it to rather include the wording ” Sexual Predator ” instead of ” 775.21 “. You are labeled a Sexual Predator automatically if your victim is under 12. As you can see, Florida puts the border line at 12 years old. Now, if you are a ” sexual offender ” and you repeat a sexual offense, then you automatically upgrade from sexual offender to sexual predator. from 943.0435 to 775.21.
        But lets say, it’s your first time offense and they want to label you already a sexual predator, It would depend on the severity of the crime and/or how heinous or shocking the court and the judge finds your offense or offenses to be. At their discretion, they can label you either or, and/or even worst civilly commit you.

        My apologies for the long writing and hope I didn’t miss something. But, that’s basically how it is in FL.

        • Alex

          Yup!….you pretty much nailed it !…. and I too have the ” 943.0435 ” mark on my Driver’s license.

        • Anonymous

          Actually in Florida you can be Labaled a Predator per statue for a first time charge that is NOT on a Minor but is a PBL First or Second Degree Charge. Many Attorneys Are even surprised but it’s true and done.

        • Alex

          @Anonymous

          That’s true. Come to think of it, I actually have met 1 or 2 with the ” 775.21 ” mark back when I was going to that court ordered therapy and it wasn’t a minor involved and a first time offense as well.

        • John

          @Anonymous @Alex

          I knew I was going to miss something. lol. That’s interesting. I was going by from what I have learned and experienced through out my years as an RC and meeting other RCs as well – from my own county and neighboring counties.

          But thank you for that info. Now I know that one.

        • Anon

          The current reading of the bill with amendments basically says in layman’s terms that public lodging (hotels and motels) must declare to all guests that a predator is on property and that vacation rentals (private homes for vacation rental) must inform neighbors >1000’ if any offender will be on site.
          What is confusing is how someone can register in person 48 hours before they arrive for their reservation. That would make spontaneous overnight stays at an overnight motel by a road weary, registered motorist impossible.

        • @Anon

          @Anon

          Where are you pulling the 48 hours registration before you check-in from?

        • Anon

          See the current bill at https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/773/BillText/c1/PDF

          Though it seems the 48 hours applies to the vacation rental; not the public lodging. Though I’m sure this interpreted with wide differentiation.

        • @Anon

          Thanks for the source. Helpful.

          First time an owner goes to notify the ‘hood, they’ll be slammed and shamed if the RC can keep the reservation in the first place. Of course the cost of notification could be expensive.

        • CR

          Perhaps by making rental owners responsible for notifying everyone within 1000 feet that they’ve allowed a “sex offender” to occupy their property, the bill sponsors are hoping that rental owners will do their own background checks of everyone staying on their property, and either refuse the rental if any sex offender is found among them, or refuse the sex offender specifically. Otherwise, the rental owner will undoubtedly incur the wrath of many nearby residents.

      • Esperanza

        In Illinois, while they also have the designation of Sex Offender, anyone with an offense against a minor after a certain date is automatically labelled a “Sexual Predator”.

        This includes someone like the 20 year old in People v. Tetter (on this site), where a 16 year old (can be one day shy of 17) lied about her age on an adult only web site. Or a High School Coach or Teacher who has a relationship with a more than willing 17 year old (one day shy of 18) student.

        Those examples, indeed, are comparable to a pack of lions chasing down and ripping to shreds a juvenile gazelle on the Serengeti. No world in the English language has been watered down like “Sexual Predator”.

        • PJ

          ” No word in the English language has been watered down like “Sexual Predator”. ”

          Indeed…and I think the word pedophile as well.

        • Anon

          @PJ
          The word pedophile has been watered down and used to describe just about all of us with a “crime” with a minor “victim”. It’s actually a medical/psychiatric term that defines a person with attraction to pre-pubescent minors but has been bandied about and used to describe anyone above 18 that is attracted to anyone under 18. Attraction to post pubescent minors by older adults is actually ephebophilia but in similar age people it is perfectly normal!!
          My case involved a long term, perfectly legal relationship with my similar age girlfriend. She gave me a picture of herself at age 17 and voila, I’m a pedophile because under 18 is a “child” for purposes of pornographic images.

        • David Kennerly

          @Anon, and let’s not forget, amongst the chronophilias, there exists “hebephilia” which is the attraction to pubescents and considered to be in the range of eleven-to-fourteen. When was the last time you heard someone raging on-and-on about “hebephiles?”

        • David Kennerly, A Risk To Whom?

          Another chronophilia that has not been mentioned is teleiophilia, the attraction to adults and, rather uninteresting is mesophilia, the attraction for the middle-aged (hey, where are they when I need them?) and, for the real extremists, there is gerontophilia, the attraction to the elderly. Hey, who knows, they may come in handy one day. There’s no accounting for tastes but, after all, the heart wants what the heart wants.

        • The Unforgiven

          I’m very tired of the label predator and pedophile. How does the writer know that the accused is either or? Are they of high authority and knowledgeable to speak on such matters as to give a diagnosis? I know it makes a better headline but c’mon.

          http://www.newsweek.com/serial-pedophile-sentenced-300-years-freed-technicality-and-wont-have-register-828400

        • Tim Moore

          David, and on the other end, have they come up with a label for those with a fetish for fetuses?

        • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

          Tim, I’ve not heard of one. I suppose that, in such a case, a sonogram might qualify as CP, though.

        • Tim Moore

          I wouldn’t put it past them. I guess they haven’t thought of making viewing a sonogram a crime. Yet. Maybe they will require doctors to CG little diapers on the figures in the images.

        • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

          Tim, well if this concept of having crimes which are contingent upon the status of the individual were extended to sonograms, then we might see the viewing of sonograms by we, the depraved, as an emergent crime.

  13. Bill

    That’s right Florida keep screwing around, your cover has been pulled and people are seeing the elected idiots for what they are.

  14. Josh

    When do they expect this farce of a law to enacted?

  15. Eric

    Governor Rick Scott and the rest of the Florida legislative body just don’t get it. Florida is a disaster, from the Pulse night club terror attack to Marjory high school mass murder, police running the other way, FBI letting mentally incompetent and dangerous people buy weapons, this state is a sad joke, but they want to add more bogus laws to further log jam the justice system and strap the already debt ridden budget.

  16. Anonymous

    The amendments need a closer look also as they are out of control. They seem to expand this law to any vacation rental and even properties not covered by the standard Florida definition. They provide penalties for non compliance and legal protection to exclude offenders from suing for rejection! They require a log book to be kept and links to FDLE on rental listings.
    This could effictevly ban any SO from ever going on vacation in Florida outside his own property in my opinion.

    • David

      BUT …… does this proposed Florida law apply ONLY to AirBnB-type rentals? Or does it also apply to all hotels, motels, travel resorts, and all vacation lodgings??
      It sounds like only the AirBnB-type lodgings are targeted.

      • Alex

        That is also how I understood it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the other ones are in the works as well. Whether now or later. But hotels and resorts are private business. Can they force a private business ?

        What I’m wondering is if let’s say, you’re with your family, and a family member puts their name and pays for it with their name and card, are they going to ask the IDs of the rest of your family or the group you are vacationing with ? I’ve stayed at various hotels and rentals for 2 day weekends, and I have never seen a hotel or rental say: ” I need to see the ID of every one of your groups staying here ” Geez, I can always get there a day or even hours after they settle in and sneak in and stay the weekend. I hate doing that, but man, I want to vacation with my family and friends like any other normal human being. I finished probation years ago, just let me be already!

        • CR

          I haven’t read the bill, so I don’t know what specifically is proposed, but the simple way to address your hypothetical would be to make it a felony offense for the “registered sex offender” to fail to declare his status to the rental owner at check in. Many SO laws are written this way. Would you still want to chance it?

        • David Kennerly

          “are they going to ask the IDs of the rest of your family or the group you are vacationing with ? ” Yes for adults. I’ve had pre-paid hotel rooms that might have been in a company name but have always been asked to show a passport or driver’s license as well as a credit card. The credit card is in case I were to use the mini-bar or, for that matter, destroy the room.

        • Alex

          @David Kennerly

          I understand with the ” one ” person paying and especially with a credit card. But also ask for the IDs of the rest of your friends and family adults that happen to be there with you as extra guests? I don’t know about that. I’ve stayed in big name resorts and have had another person paid and I was there next to the person at the hotel lobby counter and they didn’t ask for my ID. I was in a big name Palm Beach resort 3 years ago where my female cousin booked the hotel and we brought 12 family members, 4 in each suite and they only asked the ID of that cousin because she paid with the credit card and that’s it. I think it would be ridiculous if they asked for the ID of every single one of us to check if we are sex offenders. That was the base of my question and sorry if I wasn’t clear. I’m thinking maybe they will ask if any of us is an RSO or have RSO status as part as a compliance maybe with this law being proposed at some point if it passes.

        • CR

          @David Kennerly

          ==========
          “I’ve had pre-paid hotel rooms that might have been in a company name but have always been asked to show a passport or driver’s license as well as a credit card.”
          ==========

          Same here, and I presume because I was the person who made the reservation and who checked in upon arrival. But I’ve never had a hotel or motel ask to see the ID of another adult (my spouse) who was with me.

        • David Kennerly

          CR, Alex: You may well be right. I never share a room anymore with anyone so that has probably skewed my experience. It does seem unreasonable to request that everyone show an i.d. but I would imagine that doing so is probably becoming more common as our country becomes more hysterical. It would not be surprising if this laws MANDATES such checks. This is one of the ways in which liberty is whittled away.

        • Alex

          @ David Kennerly

          Yup, same here. Would not surprise me either if it becomes customary for hotels to do so and mandate such checks like you said.

        • John

          @ Alex @ CR @ David kennerly

          Same here as I have stayed at resort hotels in the past couple of years and most recent was last summer 2017, with of course somebody else – family member – paying for it under their name and credit card. But they have never asked me and the rest of family and friends for ID.

          Although there was one time in that same summer that I had a friend from Italy visiting Miami Beach and I went over to visit her at the hotel she was staying at, got there, gave my keys to the valet, I went into the lobby and to get to the elevators, it was through a security desk and they had asked for my ID and who I was visiting. I told them the name of my friend and the room, which is fine, but was nervous with the ID because of the statute mark on them, they logged me as a visitor, the guy was looking at the computer then looked at me (I was nervous inside, but I will never show nervousness outwardly) He gave me my ID back, told me to pass through and to have a nice day, I got on the elevator and woooshhhh!!!….let all the air of my lungs out. lol. What a way to live man. Geez. lol. I’m not doing anything wrong, yet I feel like a wanted fugitive or something.

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