On July 3, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the “Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act” (S. 1909) that would prohibit the use of federal funds to “implement, administer or enforce” HUD’s recently released final rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) (see Memo, 7/13). The bill would also prohibit federal funds from being used for building and maintaining a federal database of information on racial disparities within communities and disparities in access to affordable housing.
When introducing the bill, Senator Lee stated, “Every American should be free to choose where to live, and every community should be free to zone its neighborhoods and compete for new residents according to its distinct values. The diversity of America’s neighborhoods – from dense cities to wide-open rural communities to suburbs in between – is a treasure that we need to preserve. We don’t need a National Zoning Board. Washington should let Americans ‘govern local.’”
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability – the “protected classes” of people. The act also requires HUD grantees to take steps to actively overcome historic patterns of segregation and to promote fair housing choice. The current practice of affirmatively furthering fair housing choice has not been effective. When fully implemented, the new rule will be an improvement.
S. 1909 currently has five cosponsors and was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
The bill text is at https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s1909/BILLS-114s1909is.pdf
More information about the bill is at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1909
Senator Lee’s press release is at http://www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/7/lee-introduces-bill-to-stop-hud-zoning-rule
NLIHC has information about the new AFFH rule as well as current AFFH practice at http://nlihc.org/issues/affh