MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A South Carolina lawmaker wants hotels and owners to face fines or jail time for not disclosing bedbugs.
D-Charleston County Representative Wendell Gilliard is proposing a bill that will send hotel owners and landlords to jail if they fail to inform people of past and current bed bug infestations.
The bill states that anyone who does not comply will be convicted of an offense. If convicted, the accused faces up to 60 days in prison or a fine of up to $ 300.
Gilliard said the biggest battle has been trying to convince other lawmakers why this bill needs to be passed statewide.
“We are living in a time or time when we were dealing with new diseases like viruses and all kinds and knowing that bed bugs carry all kinds of diseases, this should be important for everyone,” Gilliard said.
Gilliard said other lawmakers haven’t taken the situation seriously because they haven’t experienced bedbug infestations in their areas. He said he gets many calls a year about bedbugs in hotels, public shelters and apartment buildings.
“We pay a lot of money for these hotels, there is no reason why a state that brings in $ 20 million a year from tourism should be infested with bedbugs,” said Gilliard.
South Carolina currently has no bed bug laws regarding hotel pests. In Minnesota, hotels and motels must kill bed bugs as soon as they find them. The same law applies to service residences and other residences for the elderly for disabled people. Minnesota is the only state to have these bed bug laws.
Other states have different types of rules. In Alabama, rooms should be immediately closed from the time an infestation is discovered until the problem is under control.
“Bed bug laws wouldn’t harm the hospitality industry, they would only make it healthier for guests and residents,” said Gilliard.