House State Government Committee Passes Bill that Conflicts with Local Decision Making

A House bill, which resembles legislation passed by the Senate Local Government Committee on Wednesday, is pitting property rights against local decision making at the local level, and GOP lawmakers are taking the side of property rights.  

House Bill 18 is another bill framed to address a draft ordinance before the Lexington-Fayette Urban City Council, which is aimed at banning the source of income for landlords.

Rep. Ryan Dotson, R-Winchester, a former landlord and sponsor of House Bill 18, said that “blatant government overreach” is being considered in Lexington, and he wants to protect his constituents.

“I’ve always been a strong proponent of local control,” Dotson said in the House Committee on State Government. “…but at the same time, there has to be a line in the sand.”

The legislation also addresses emergency calls to residences and prohibits emergency providers from billing landlords in lieu of the tenants.

Several groups testified against the legislation, which was ultimately passed 13-4 down party lines.

Lexington Councilman Dave Sevigny, a previous landlord and tenant, sought to clarify the Lexington draft ordinance would only ensure landlords accept Section 8 vouchers. Allowing landlords to bar Section 8 voucher tenants is an “indirect form of discrimination,” as many people of color are using Section 8 Housing, he said.

The KLC Board of Directors voted to oppose House Bill 18 because it conflicts with local decision-making at the local level.

The bill heads to the full House of Representatives for their consideration.