- Committee -

SCS/SB 842 - This act requires that lodging establishment owners be licensed and provides for the transfer of such a license to a new owner. The license fee, which must be obtained for each establishment, is $50 with additional fees depending upon the number of rooms at the establishment. Under this act, the Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for the licensing and keeping of records. The Director may deny, revoke, suspend, or place on probation, the license for failing to pass the required annual inspection. If an establishment passes inspection, it will receive an approved inspection report to accompany the license.

This act changes the date a lodging establishment license expires to the thirtieth day of September following its issuance. Currently, a lodging establishment license expires on the thirtieth day of May following its issuance.

This act also requires the Department to promulgate rules which establish sanitation, construction, and safety standards for lodging establishments, but such rules shall not prohibit the enforcement of ordinances concerning such standards or the creation of more stringent ordinances. Also, no private right of action shall be prohibited because of the rules.

This act allows the Director to refuse issuing a license or he or she may revoke, deny, suspend, or place on probation, a license for noncompliance with any rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to this act. The lodging establishment owner will receive a reasonable amount of time to comply with the department's standards after receiving notice of the violation. After such time, the Director will decide if the efforts of the owner are sufficient to be deemed in compliance or not. Before taking action for noncompliance, the Director must give notice to the owner as to the reasons for the proposed action. After receiving notice, the owner may request a hearing by filing a written request within 15 days and the Director must fix a date for a hearing within 45 days of the request. An establishment may only stay open during judicial review if the owner can demonstrate that it will not create a health or safety hazard to do so.

Under this act, the Director will have the duty of closing a lodging establishment that creates a menace to public health. The notice of the closing must state the reasoning for such action and the licensee may appeal the decision within five days after receiving notice. A hearing must be held within 15 days from the date the appeal is filed and the closing of the establishment must continue until the proceedings are finished. A person aggrieved by a final decision regarding such action is entitled to judicial review.

This act states that a lodging establishment owner is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor if he or she is operating without a license and each day is considered a separate offense.

This act lists certain entities that are not subject to this act such as timeshares, dorms or other school-owned facilities, not-for-profit organizations, community organizations, and churches.

This act has an emergency clause.