Senate OK’d hotel/motel assessment bill

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- State Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, left, fields a question from state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, on legislation that could add a special assessment to Orleans Parish hotel and motel bills for tourism marketing and promotion efforts. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- State Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, left, fields a question from state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, on legislation that could add a special assessment to Orleans Parish hotel and motel bills for tourism marketing and promotion efforts.

The Louisiana Senate advanced legislation Monday that could add a special assessment to Orleans Parish hotel and motel bills for tourism marketing and promotion efforts.

The Senate voted 24-7 for Senate Bill 242, sponsored by state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans.

Orleans hotel and motels would vote on whether they want to add the surcharge onto their guests bills in a referendum called by the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association. Two-thirds of the votes cast would be required before the extra charge could be levied.

The Senate added a provision to SB242 that would cap the “hotel assessment” at 1.75 percent of the daily room charge.

“What are the ramifications of X,Y, Z hotel if they vote no,” asked state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie.

“They will not get the benefit of the marketing for those that pay into it,” said Murray.

Murray said hotels could not be forced into participation. They could opt to participate at a later point, he said.

The measure now moves to the Louisiana House for further debate.