Beshear vetoes bill that would make it harder for families to access affordable housing Skip to content

Beshear vetoes bill that would make it harder for families to access affordable housing

House Bill 8 would let landlords refuse to rent housing based on a person’s source of income

Via press release from the Governor’s office

Today, Gov. Andy Beshear was joined by Louisville Councilman Phillip Baker, who represents Metro Council District 6, as he vetoed House Bill 18, which would make it harder for many Kentuckians – including those with disabilities, senior citizens, low-income families and homeless veterans – to access affordable housing.

The bill removes local government control and autonomy, with the General Assembly dictating how local governments act to prevent discrimination in housingThe bill aims 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.

“We should be working to help our people,” Gov. 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.”

“Every Kentuckian deserves a safe place to call home – it is a basic necessity for human dignity and equality,” said Councilman Baker. “Legislation, such as House Bill 18, that allows housing discrimination based on income is not only unjust but perpetuates systemic inequality and is a shameful reminder that the Kentucky General Assembly values wealth over humanity.”

In 2020, the Louisville mayor signed a law, supported by the Metro Council, that protects more residents from discriminatory housing practices.

Councilwoman Dr. Barbara Shanklin, who represents Metro Council District 2, could not attend the veto news conference at the Beecher Terrace Community Center, but said, “As a co-sponsor of the original fair housing ordinance, I was proud to support a yearlong collaborative process by my Metro Council colleagues and fair housing advocates. Louisville was at the forefront of the anti-discrimination issue, leading the way in creating policies that promoted inclusivity and opportunity. However, the passage of HB 18 represents a giant step backwards for our city and the communities we serve. This legislation takes away crucial options for many of our low-income and disadvantaged residents, furthering segregation within our neighborhoods. We remain committed to fair housing and it’s important that we continue to join in our efforts for a more equitable future for all residents of Louisville.”

Last month, in Lexington, the mayor and government leaders joined together to pass a law to make sure landlords 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,” said Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilmember Dave Sevigny, who represents District 10.

The bill and the Governor’s veto message now return to the General Assembly where lawmakers could decide to override the Governor’s veto. The Governor encouraged Kentuckians who support his veto to contact their lawmaker and voice opposition to any further action being taken on House Bill 18.

Click here to read the Governor’s veto message.

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