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Kentucky landlord bill approved by senate, moves to house

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(The Center Square) – A bill that would stop local Kentucky governments from requiring landlords to accept tenants on federal housing assistance cleared one hurdle and now sits in the Kentucky House.

The Kentucky state senate approved the bill on a 25-11 vote. The House is expected to vote on it again later this spring after Senate changes.

House Bill 18 seeks to expand upon Senate Bill 25, relating to the eviction of Kentucky tenants on federal housing assistance. Sen. Stephen West, R-Paris, said it would extend beyond Section 8 housing to all forms of federal housing programs.

“This is not the city of Louisville’s property. This is not the city of Lexington’s property,” West said. “This is the landlord’s property. This is property that they’ve bought, and they’ve paid for, and they are in the best position to know how to use that property. They are in the best position to know what types of federal programs to accept or not accept.”

Senate Minority Caucus Chair Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington voted against bill, saying the legislation is “back door discrimination.” He argued many Section 8 voucher users are minorities, and the bill can be used against them gaining housing.

“Just last week, the urban county council of Fayette County voted by an overwhelming margin of 13-2 to oppose a source of income discrimination ban in that county,” Thomas said. “And those duly elected council people did so because they were trying to address a major problem in their community, which is affordable housing.”

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 try 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.”

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