Beshear Vetoes Housing Preemption Bill

Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed legislation preempting certain local housing discrimination ordinances. 

House Bill 18, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Dotson, R-Winchester, a former landlord, is aimed at stopping 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 and counties 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 Louisville Councilman Phillip 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.

Last month, in Lexington, the council passed an ordinance 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 commonsense 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.

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.

Speaker of the House David Osborne said he was not surprised by Beshear’s veto.

“Today’s news comes as no surprise as the Governor has vetoed everything from legislation aimed at eliminating the state’s income tax to providing $250 million in funding for high-speed internet expansion,” Osborne said. “With today’s veto, he strikes out at the right of a property owner to make a decision about how his or her property will be used. The very idea of forcing a property owner to participate in a program runs contrary to one of the most basic and fundamental rights. Members will consider an override, as they have with almost every other policy vetoed by the Governor.”

Click here to read the Governor’s veto message.