MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A South Carolina lawmaker wants hotels and landlords to face fines or jail sentences for not disclosing bed bugs.
Myrtle Beach is known as Bed bug epicenter.
Representative Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston County, is pushing for a law that will send hotel owners and landlords to jail if they fail to inform people of past and current bed bug infestations.
The bill stipulates that anyone who does not comply will be found guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 60 days in prison or a fine of up to US $ 300.
A Florida couple who were bitten by bed bugs at the Myrtle Beach Hotel took the infestation home with them, the lawsuit said
Gilliard said the biggest battle has been trying to convince other lawmakers why this law needs to be passed nationwide.
“We live in these days or times when we are dealing with new diseases like viruses and all kinds of species and we know bed bugs can transmit all kinds of diseases, that should be important to everyone,” said Gilliard.
Gilliard said other lawmakers did not take the situation seriously because they did not experience bed bug infestations in their areas. He said he receives numerous calls every year about bed bugs in hotels, public shelters and residential homes.
No regulations for bed bugs in South Carolina, remained victims with few solutions
“We’re paying good money for these hotels. There’s no reason a state that brings in $ 20 million a year from tourism has a bed bug infestation,” said Gilliard.
South Carolina does not currently have bed bug laws regarding the pests in hotels. In Minnesota, hotels and motels need to kill bed bugs as soon as they find them. The same law applies to assisted living and other senior facilities for disabled people. Minnesota is the only state that has these bed bug laws.
Other states have different types of rules. In Alabama, guest rooms must be closed immediately as soon as an infestation is detected and the problem is under control.
“Bed bug laws wouldn’t do any harm to the hospitality industry, it would just make it healthier for customers and residents,” said Gilliard.