Bed bugs in your room in a Kansas hotel? The state will no longer be inspecting rooms to enforce code violations.
An article in Sunday’s Wichita Eagle recounts the story of hotel guest Becky Andrews, who was itching and scratching in a Bonner Springs, Kansas Super 8 bed, until she discovered the cause: bed bug bites.
She claims she took a live bed bug to the hotel’s front desk, but was not taken seriously, so she filed a complaint with the state.
A Kansas Department of Agriculture inspector visited the hotel on Nov. 3 and confirmed that Room 406 was infested with bed bugs. The hotel was ordered to fix the problem, and a follow-up inspection was scheduled for Dec. 3. But the follow-up never occurred. The state announced that day it was suspending its lodging inspection program because of budget cuts. In Kansas today, no government agency is working to ensure that hotel rooms are free of bed bugs, showers are free of mildew, evacuation routes are conspicuously posted, and drinking glasses are properly prepackaged. “This is the painful reality of our current economic climate,” Josh Svaty, acting agriculture secretary, said in a news release issued that day. “Whether the department will be able to resume inspections will depend on future funding levels. “In what has turned out to be a tight budget year, it seems unlikely that the state will find the $240,000 it needs to fund the lodging inspection program for another year. Andrews said she finds that unsettling.
This sure is an unsettling state of affairs. And it is not just bed bugs that I’m worried about. How can the State of Kansas enforce laws which apply to hotel conditions, if it does not have a lodging inspection program? I know money is tight, but safety is a concern.
And when it comes to bed bugs, we remember well that at the end of 2008, a year when bed bug complaints in housing were eleven times what they were in 2007, Cincinnati did not continue funding bed bug inspections in housing. And that’s after a study found 14.5% of the population of Cincinnati had had bed bugs.
I wonder how many Cincinnati residents have had bed bugs more than a year later?