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McKee vetoes short-term rental registry to chagrin of some

July 9, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee has vetoed legislation that would make property owners register with the state before listing short-term rentals through online lodging websites, to the chagrin of some concerned about the unregulated nature of the industry.

“I cannot support this bill because it will create additional burden for property owners,” the Democratic governor wrote Thursday in a veto message. “Short-term rental concerns, like other property/land use and small business matters, are most effectively addressed at the municipal level.”

Some municipal leaders and residents are worried about properties rented on vacation rental websites like Airbnb and VRBO becoming de facto hotels.

Calls for a registry increased in the spring after a 22-year-old University of Rhode Island student was fatally stabbed during a party at a rental property in Newport.

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The proposal was overwhelmingly approved by the heavily Democratic legislature, which can override McKee’s veto.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, both Democrats, wrote in a joint statement that they were “disappointed” by the veto.

“Some communities, such as Newport, Narragansett and Westerly, are being overwhelmed by short-term rentals, without the ability to determine if they are receiving appropriate tax revenue or make corresponding decisions regarding their resources,” they said.