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Beshear vetoes bill to give Kentucky landloards more control

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(The Center Square) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a bill Tuesday that lawmakers said would have given landlords more control over their rental properties.

Beshear said the legislation would make it more difficult for Kentuckians to access affordable housing.

As previously reported by The Center Square, House Bill 18 would stop local governments from requiring landlords to accept tenants on federal housing assistance. It passed both the House and Senate late last month.

Beshear, a second-term Democrat, said the bill aimed to stop the cities of Louisville and Lexington from enforcing local laws that prevent landlords from refusing to rent housing based on a person’s source of income, such as federal housing assistance vouchers. It would also prevent other cities from enacting similar laws.

He said it would make it more difficult for people with disabilities, senior citizens, low-income families and homeless veterans to find housing.

“We should be working to help our people,” Beshear said. “That is what my faith teaches me – to follow the parable of the good Samaritan, to know that everyone is our neighbor and to treat everyone with compassion. This bill is just wrong and mean, and I am proud to veto it.”

Last month, Lexington officials passed a law requiring landlords to accept housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance payments for rent.

“As a sponsor of the well-vetted ordinance in Lexington that was recently passed with overwhelming support and is now in effect to eliminate certain forms of housing discrimination, I applaud the common sense veto by Gov. Beshear, who seems to clearly recognize that each part of government has its role and should stay in its lane,” Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilmember Dave Sevigny said.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the legislation defends the constitutional rights of landlords to their property.

“I’m for local control. Always have been,” Thayer said. “But, local government, just like state and federal government, sometimes tries to violate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And if you want to talk about discrimination, what’s happening in Lexington is discrimination against the free market and the men and women who are in the business of being landlords and renting property to the citizens of Fayette County.”

The bill now heads back to the General Assembly, where Republicans have veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.

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