Briana Vannozzi, NJTV News
“We had examples of party house situations here in Fort Lee, consumption of on-street parking. In today’s day and age you want to know who’s living in your neighborhood,” said Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich.
Sokolich says constituents living next door to Airbnb hosts have been inundating his phone line with complaints.
The short-term home rental service is booming in New Jersey. And neighbors in small-town suburbs say it feels a bit like having a hotel outside their house.
“We have millions of people that go through our streets on literally a weekly basis. We’re not trying to find out and know about each and every one of them, but we certainly want to know about the ones that are sleeping in our neighborhoods,” Sokolich said.
“So what we came up with was to create a statewide model so that municipalities could create a registry and the registry would be for the host to go into the municipality and say that they’re going to rent their homes,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle.Read more
Daniel Hubbard, The Patch
BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Legislation sponsored by Bergen representatives to stop enforcement of President Donald Trump's immigration ban advanced through a state Assembly committee Monday.
The bill would prohibit the Port Authority from enforcing the ban that denies refugees and citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries entry into the United States. The agency operates and maintains the busiest airport system in the country, which includes Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy, and LaGuardia airports.
No Port Authority employee or police officer would be allowed to aid or provide resources, assistance or support to any federal employee or representative to enforce the order. The bill would also prohibit the use of Port Authority resources or facilities to enforce the order.
Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) and Gordon M. Johnson (D-Teaneck) are co-sponsoring the legislation, along with two other assembly members.
Vainieri Huttle said the ban is founded on "falsehoods."Read more
Michael Booth, New Jersey Law Journal
The New Jersey Legislature is taking the first steps toward regulating and taxing the burgeoning home-sharing industry, dominated by San Francisco-based Airbnb, even as some towns in the state have taken steps to ban the practice within their borders.
The Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee has recommended passage of a two-bill home-sharing package. The first bill, A4587, would impose state sales and occupancy taxes on the operators of home-sharing facilities, as well as other taxes, depending on the particular municipality.
The second bill, A4441, would allow local governments to mandate that homeowners who want to rent out all or part of their homes via home-sharing platforms register with the municipality, pay a fee and ensure their homes are up to code and properly maintained. Homeowners could face fines of up to $100 a day for failure to comply. The bill also would allow towns to effectively bar home-sharing by setting a minimum 30-day rental agreement.
In regulating the home-sharing industry, most advances are being made by cities, not states, although New York State law bars most urban apartment owners from renting out their homes for stays of 30 days or less. The District of Columbia also has introduced legislation that would impose licensing and tax requirements on home-sharing.Read more
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
Information about birth procedures and maternal health — tailored to pregnant women and new moms — could help boost health of mothers and children
New Jersey has worked diligently to bring down its stubbornly high rates of cesarean section deliveries, but they remain at least 10 points higher than the national average, and the numbers vary significantly among hospitals across the state.
Now one lawmaker is hoping to harness that data to empower women to take more control of their healthcare decisions.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, (D-Bergen), is championing legislation that would require state officials to collect specific information about birth procedures and maternal health and publish that data as a Report Card on Maternal Care, which would be updated annually. While much of this information is already collected by state agencies, it is not compiled in a format specifically for mothers to be.
First introduced in 2014, Vainieri Huttle’s proposal was approved by the Assembly Woman and Children’s Committee Monday. It would require each hospital licensed for maternal-infant care to report the number of deliveries, number of C-sections, rates of complications, and possibly other factors, based on recommendations by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.Read more
Anjalee Khemlani, NJBIZ
Maternity care in New Jersey is under increasing scrutiny with the latest Leapfrog Group score released last month.
Specifically, the use of cesarean sections to schedule births rather than deliver naturally is a dangerous practice, according to experts in the state.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) has sponsored a bill to require hospitals to report information on births and procedures performed and compiled into a report card on maternity care around the state.
“In March 2017, New Jersey was among the number of states with the highest rates for C-sections, with only Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Virginia rated worse, according to a survey by the Leapfrog Group,” Vainieri Huttle said in a statement. “Hospital to hospital, the C-section rate can vary significantly. Families should have this information at hand when deciding which hospital is right for them.”Read more
Michael Symons, New Jersey 101.5
New Jersey lawmakers are moving ahead with plans to tax and regulate home-sharing operations like Airbnb. And while the company is OK with collecting taxes, it doesn’t like the approach being taken to license or prohibit the short-term rentals it brokers.
Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, said New Jersey’s tax laws need to be updated to keep up with technology and the home-sharing portion of the hospitality industry.
“It’s unfair to hotels and motels that have to compete with a new business model that provides essentially the same service but does not have to charge state sales tax, the state hotel/motel fee and a municipal hotel tax, which can total up to 18 percent in some areas,” Quijano said. “That’s a very significant disparity and a significant barrier to overcome.”
Last year, more than 6,000 New Jersey hosts earned over $50 million through 257,000 short-term rentals arranged through Airbnb.
Such rentals should have to pay the same taxes as hotels, said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association.
“We as an organization don’t normally believe in new taxes. However, if you are conducting your business like a hotel, you’re operating like a hotel, you are in the lodging business, and we feel you should have the same obligations as traditional lodging facilities,” Halvorsen said.Read more
Jerry DeMarco, Daily Voice
HACKENSACK, N.J. – New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and other Democratic state lawmakers from Bergen and Passaic county on Wednesday called on the acting state education commissioner to immediately issue a directive protecting transgender students.
Last week, the Trump Administration rescinded a directive that the Obama Administration put in place that “made clear that the federal government supported transgender students and wanted to do everything it could to ensure their success in school,” the state Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to Acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington.
“It was backed up by the protections afforded by Title IX, which protect transgender and cisgender children alike,” they wrote.
“The federal government has claimed that this is a states’ rights issue,” says the letter – co-signed by, among others, Assembly members Tim Eustace of Maywood, Valerie Vainieri Huttle of Englewood, Marlene Caride of Ridgefield and state Sen. Robert Gordon of Fair Lawn.Read more
Brent Johnson, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Online marketplaces such as Airbnb that offer short-term housing rentals would face new taxes and regulations in New Jersey under a pair of bills that state lawmakers have begun advancing.
The state Assembly's tourism committee passed both measures Monday -- one which would tax the companies the same way hotels are in the Garden State and another that would establish regulations in the state for the ever-growing industry.
Such marketplaces have gained popularity in recent years, allowing people to list and book apartments, houses, villas, and even castles throughout the world for a night, a week, or a month. The most famous is Airbnb, a San Francisco company that boasts having listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries.
In New Jersey, about 6,100 residents hosted sites through Airbnb last year, renting to about 257,000 people. That resulted in $50 million in income for the renters.Read more
JT Aregood, Observer NJ Politics
New Jersey took a step toward allowing its cities to regulate or effectively ban the use of Airbnb Monday, with a bill aiming to ban rental agreements shorter than 30 days advancing in committee. The service, which allows app users to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers for even one-night stays, is currently unregulated in the state.
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, called the current lack of regulation a threat to public safety after its successful 7-0 vote in the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee.
“The current practices of short-term rental businesses lack the necessary safety precautions for our municipalities,” Vainieri Huttle said. “We want residents and tourists to enjoy the options provided by companies like Airbnb, but not at the expense of neighbors who live there on a permanent basis. This legislation creates a baseline registry that municipalities can implement as they see fit.”
The measure would allow municipalities to prohibit property owners from offering their space as accomodation for a period of 30 days or less if it serves as their primary residence.
Nicholas Pugliese, NorthJersey.com
An Assembly tourism panel advanced a pair of bills Monday that would impose new taxes and regulations on short-term housing rentals such as those provided through the online marketplaces Airbnb and FlipKey.
More than a dozen other legislative committees also considered measures covering topics ranging from college fees and vaping to psychiatric beds and a designer drug known as “flakka.”
Airbnb is the most prominent of numerous online services that allow people to rent out a room in their home or their entire residence to tourists, business people and other travelers on a short-term basis. Advocates say the services gives property owners a form of supplemental income while also expanding lodging options available to travelers.
Critics of the services, however, say that the short-term-rental industry is hurting hotels and the housing market, and officials in more than a dozen municipalities in North Jersey have moved since July to restrict short-term rentals over concerns that they were eroding the quality of life in some neighborhoods.
More than 6,000 New Jersey residents hosted 257,000 guests using Airbnb in 2016, a press secretary for the company said Monday, and 325,000 residents used the service to travel domestically and abroad.
A bill sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, and Annette Quijano, D-Union, would impose the same sales and use taxes on short-term rentals as imposed on other hotels and motels in the state.
Peter Schottenfels, a press secretary for Airbnb, testified in favor of the legislationMonday. He said the company has “voluntary collection agreements” with more than 230 jurisdictions around the world, including Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Jersey City, and that the bill would have generated $6 million in state and local taxes in New Jersey had it been in effect in 2016.
The Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee approved the bill Monday by a 5-2 vote.
A separate bill sponsored by Huttle goes further and seeks to establish a statewide regulatory framework for short-term rentals where none currently exists. It would codify that municipalities are authorized to prohibit such rentals and would require anyone who wants to offer a short-term rental to first register with their municipality, among other restrictions.
“The current practices of short-term rental businesses lack the necessary safety precautions for our municipalities,” Huttle said in a statement after the same Assembly panel voted unanimously to advance the bill.
Schottenfels, on the other hand, testified that the bill would “usurp local control by imposing a top-down solution” and called it “a solution in search of a problem.”
Senate versions of the bills have not been introduced.Read more