AUSTIN - Texas Senators passed a bill Tuesday that will overturn a plan by the Austin City Council if it becomes law.
Senators approved SB 451 which prohibits cities and counties from banning short term rentals (STRs) which are homes rented out on websites such as HomeAway or Airbnb.
STRs have been a point of contention in Austin, particularly Type 2 STRs which are non-owner occupied homes that are solely used as rental properties.
Neighbors complained the STRs were "party houses" disrupting their neighborhoods, so last February the Austin City Council voted to phase out Type 2 STRs.
SB451 allows cities to regulate STRs for safety and sound issues, but they can't ban them. Austin Senator Kirk Watson (D) tried to add an amendment to allow Austin and all other cities with existing policies to keep their rules, but it failed.
The Senate also voted Tuesday to approve SB 1408 to let firefighters and EMS personnel carry their handguns while on duty if they're licensed and take a training course. As well as SB 1923 to create a fund for state hospital facilities.
All of those bills are now headed to the House and the House is sending its own set of bills over to the Senate.
Representatives voted Tuesday to approve HB 269 which allows prostitution charges to be dropped if the person charged is the victim of human trafficking. They also passed HB 491 that requires people convicted of continuous human trafficking to register as sex offenders.
And they took the final vote to approve HB 3451 requiring lethal pesticides used to kill feral hogs be studied and approved before they can be used.
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