Kentucky Governor Beshear rejects bill granting increased power to landlords

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear took action on Tuesday by vetoing a bill that aimed to empower landlords with more control over their rental properties.

According to Beshear, this legislation will create additional challenges for Kentuckians in their pursuit of affordable housing.

House Bill 18, which recently gained approval from both the House and Senate, aims to prevent local governments from mandating landlords to accept tenants who are on federal housing assistance. This measure, as previously highlighted by The Center Square, is set to address this particular issue.

Governor Beshear, a Democratic leader serving his second term, has put forth a bill with the intention of prohibiting the cities of Louisville and Lexington from implementing local regulations that prevent landlords from denying housing based on a person’s source of income, including federal housing assistance vouchers. Additionally, this bill aims to prevent other cities from enacting similar laws.

According to him, finding housing would become more challenging for individuals with disabilities, senior citizens, low-income families, and homeless veterans.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear voiced his strong opposition to a bill, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing the well-being of the people. In line with his personal beliefs, rooted in the teachings of his faith, he invoked the parable of the good Samaritan, stressing the need to view everyone as neighbors and treat them with compassion. Governor Beshear firmly stated that the bill in question was not only flawed but also carried a sense of cruelty, leading him to proudly exercise his veto power.

In a recent development, Lexington officials have implemented a new law that mandates landlords to accept housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance payments as rent.

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Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilmember Dave Sevigny commended Governor Beshear for his sensible veto of the well-vetted ordinance in Lexington. The ordinance, which received widespread support and is now in effect, aims to eliminate certain forms of housing discrimination. Sevigny expressed his appreciation for the governor’s understanding that each branch of government has its role to play and should stay within its jurisdiction.

According to Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, the legislation aims to protect landlords’ constitutional rights to their property.

“I have always been a proponent of local control,” Thayer affirmed. “However, it is important to recognize that local government, similar to state and federal government, can occasionally overstep its boundaries and violate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In the case of Lexington, what is happening can be seen as discrimination against the principles of a free market and the hardworking individuals who make a living by being landlords and providing rental properties to the residents of Fayette County.”

The General Assembly will now review the bill, as it makes its way back to them. The Republican party holds veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, giving them significant influence in the decision-making process.

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