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Denise Harper Angel on one bad bill and one good bill

Some thoughts from the Louisville senator on HB 18 and SB 131.

2 min read

Sen. Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville) sends out regular updates to her constituents and others on her email list. This week, she had good explanations about two bills that passed the Senate, and I thought they were worth sharing with our readers.

In furthering our legislative developments in the Senate, I write you today with some harrowing news as we witnessed a troubling measure gain final passage in the Kentucky General Assembly: House Bill (HB) 18. On its face, HB 18 seeks to end local governments’ power to prohibit discrimination based on a tenant’s source of income with additional provisions that shield landlords from fees related to emergency response calls. This bill, reminiscent of Senate Bill (SB) 25 passed a few weeks ago, takes a step further in the wrong direction. As I stated during the Senate debate, HB 18 disproportionately impacts low-income individuals, including many who rely on Section 8 vouchers. 

By allowing landlords to discriminate based on the source of income, this bill perpetuates systemic inequality and goes against the values of fairness and equity. Furthermore, the bill's implications for veterans and disabled individuals who rely on federal housing assistance cannot be overstated. Contrary to claims, participating in these programs does not equate to accepting lower rent payments. It is about supporting those who have served our country and our most vulnerable to ensure they have access to stable housing. 

It is disheartening to witness legislation that preempts local ordinances and disregards the needs of our communities. As public servants, our goal should be upholding the principles of fairness and justice. We must stand against discrimination in all forms and, instead, work toward implementing policies that promote inclusivity and opportunity for all Kentuckians. Despite my opposition, the measure passed the Senate with a vote of 25-11. It now goes to the desk of the Governor, where he can sign it into law or veto it and return it to the legislature.

Amidst the disappointing passage of HB 18, there is some good news regarding a crucial bipartisan measure advancing in the Senate this week: Senate Bill (SB) 131. The measure confronts a crucial challenge in our modern political sphere: the rise of synthetic media and its potential to disrupt our democratic processes. In today's world, where falsehoods can spread with alarming speed, this legislation aims to counter the spread of "deep fakes" and digitally doctored content that seek to sway public opinion and manipulate election outcomes.

As we've observed, deceptive tactics in political discourse can erode the public's trust in our institutions and weaken the very foundation of our democracy. SB 131 sets out to combat these insidious practices by establishing clear guidelines and oversight for synthetic media, thus fostering greater transparency and accountability in our electoral systems. 

With federal action on this issue lagging, it falls upon state governments to take bold steps to protect the integrity of our elections. SB 131 exemplifies a bipartisan commitment to address this urgent issue directly, reinforcing our dedication to fairness and integrity in our democratic processes. I proudly supported the measure, filing an amendment with an emergency clause for it to take effect immediately if it is passed in the House. SB 131 garnered unanimous support in the Senate.

Thanks to the Senator for allowing us to share her insights!


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