A precedent we should not repeat

House Bill 172 would amend our fair housing law.

It would prohibit discriminatory practices with respect to residential housing because of a potential buyer or renter’s source of income.

It’s the Section 8 bill.

In my first job after law school, I started the Section 8 program in Baltimore City.

This was a Nixon Administration program. Instead of building more public housing, income-eligible tenants were given a voucher to pay a portion of the rent in privately owned properties.

Over the years, however, countless landlords rejected Section 8 applicants.

HB 172 would prevent that.

The amendment before the House would have exempted certain counties from the bill.

I rose to speak:

I remind the House that currently there is precedent for this amendment.

When the civil rights laws in this state were first enacted in the 1960’s, there were exemptions for certain jurisdictions.

That is something we should not repeat. We have not repeated it since then, and a red vote would make sure that we don’t repeat it now.

The amendment failed, 47-84.