© 2024 WUKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Anti-discrimination ordinances surrounding source-of-income pitting Frankfort against Lexington, Louisville

Josh James

Efforts to quash Lexington's source-of-income anti-discrimination ordinance are picking up steam in Frankfort just hours ahead of a potential vote on the city's proposal.

Kentucky Republican lawmakers have combined two bills that would create protections for landlords, by outlawing local efforts to stop the automatic disqualification of applicants who are seeking housing using government assistance or other legal third party payments.

While a standalone version in the Senate would have applied only to Section 8 vouchers, the new version of the bill would expand the language to cover all federal assistance. It would also add an emergency clause, meaning it would take effect immediately upon passage.

Sen. Stephen West said, in Lexington's case, the move is a preemptive one.

"In Lexington, we see this coming," he said. "And it's an effort to preempt what we feel is an attack on property rights."

As of Wednesday afternoon, Lexington's ordinance remained on the docket for a final vote on Thursday. Like Louisville's ordinance, which is already in place, the language doesn't mandate landlords accept tenants on federal assistance, only that they cannot disqualify them solely on that basis.

That's led to questions of whether the proposed state law would, in fact, overturn Louisville's ordinance and halt Lexington's. George Eklund is with the Louisville Coalition for the Homeless. He says a legal opinion agrees that it would.

"We do have an opinion from the county attorney's office in Jefferson County that this would negate our source-of-income protection that we passed over three years ago," he said.

That suggests the state bill could do the same for Lexington's proposed ordinance.

WUKY reached out to the lead sponsor of the Lexington ordinance, Councilman David Sevigny, but have not heard an update.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.