Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced H.R. 482 and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a companion bill, S. 103, on January 12. Both bills are titled the “Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017.” Based on the version of H.R. 482 on Mr. Gosar’s website, the bills would nullify the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation and the Assessment Tools associated with the rule (see related article in this Memo to Members). The bills would also prohibit federal funds from being used for the HUD database containing geospatial information regarding community racial disparities and disparities in access to affordable housing.
The bills would also require the HUD secretary to jointly consult with state, local government, and public housing agency officials to develop recommendations to further the purposes of the “Fair Housing Act of 1968” by means other than through regulations. The HUD secretary would be required to draft a report based on the consultation, and the recommendations in the report could only be those reached by consensus.
The Fair Housing Act 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 “all executive departments and agencies to administer their programs and activities related to housing and urban development in a manner affirmatively to further the purposes” of the act.
H.R. 482 has 20 cosponsors: Representatives Brian Babin (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rod Blum (R-IA), Dave Brat (R-VA), Ken Buck (R-CO), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), John Duncan (R-TN), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Glen Grothman (R-WI), Steve King (R-IA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Jason Smith (R-MO), Daniel Webster (R-FL), and Ted Yoho (R-FL). S. 103 has one cosponsor, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Mr. Gosar introduced a similar bill in 2015 (see Memo, 4/27/15). In the 113th Congress, Mr. Gosar also introduced an amendment to the House Appropriations bill (H.R. 4745) that would have prohibited any FY15 funds from being used to implement, administer, or enforce what was then the proposed AFFH rule. That amendment passed by a vote of 219 to 207 but was not included in the final FY15 spending bill.
In May of 2016, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and David Vitter (R-LA) filed an amendment to prohibit HUD from implementing the AFFH rule and its Assessment Tools. Senators Lee and Cotton offered a similar amendment to the previous year’s Transportation-HUD spending bill and also introduced a standalone bill (see Memo, 5/16/16).
The text of these bills is not yet posted at Congress.gov. However the text of H.R. 482 is on Mr. Gosar’s website at: http://bit.ly/2ilFzjd
NLIHC’s statement opposing these bills is at: http://bit.ly/2jk8gKu
Basic information about AFFH is on page 7-4 of NLIHC’s 2016 Advocates’ Guide at: http://bit.ly/1WiozGd