Emergency measure ties Louisville Metro Council's hands

Rep. Ryan Dotson

House Bill 18 was enrolled and signed by Kentucky's General Assembly on February 27. The Republican majority overrode Gov. Beshear’s veto on March 6. The bill was Declared an Emergency so it took effect immediately, however, this rule is still online.

The bill had teeth when it was introduced on January 2, and grew molars in the Senate State & Local Government Committee. (See members here) When the House received it back from the Senate, most members concurred with the Senate committee substitute (SCS) and posted it for passage.

The SCS states: "A city, county, charter county government, urban-county government, consolidated local government, or unified local government shall not adopt or enforce any ordinance relating to landlord or tenant laws that is in conflict with any law of this Commonwealth." To read the entire law, go here.

Sponsor Ryan Dotson, D73-Clark and Fayette Counties, introduced it on the House Floor as a Property Rights bill. An audio of his introduction is below.

A transcript of the sound file is here, or watch his presentation at about 16 minutes on the KET video.

After Dotson spoke, six Democrat women asked permission to weigh in or to ask Rep. Dotson questions. Their comments make plain that Democrats want to dictate to Americans what property rights they may have. None acknowledged that Louisville Metro has committed to building a massive complex to house the homeless and provide free healthcare for them, nor did they mention the current push and projects underway for affordable housing in Jefferson County.

Women Democrats

Rep. Dotson responded to Rep. Stalker's question. Listen to an audio.

Read a transcript of the sound file, or watch the video at about 36 minutes and 20 seconds on the KET coverage.

On January 30 of this year, the Courier-Journal published an OpEd urging opposition to HB 18:

Housing is a human right, and every community should do all it can to get people into housing. Louisville took a step in that direction in 2020 when it joined many states and cities across the country banning discrimination based solely on the source of someone’s income. Preempting an enacted ordinance passed in unanimous, bipartisan fashion to address a critical local need is an extraordinary and unnecessary act. The ordinance is working in Louisville and Frankfort should let it continue to work.

That ordinance protects the protected classes such as race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, disability, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation-- against discrimination based on a person’s

  • homeless status
  • prior military service
  • criminal history, and
  • source of income such as child support, foster care subsidies, income derived from social security, grants, pension or any form of federal, state or local public assistance or housing assistance.

Rep. Dotson pointed out that Section 8 was never meant to serve as a source of permanent income.

He stated that HB 18 is needed because of GOVERNMENT OVERREACH. Landlords today are up against zoning regulations and other rules that prevent them from knowing facts about those who would be their tenants, yet they must be transparent with government officials in every aspect of their business.

In the final vote on HB18, only one Republican, Whitney Westerfield, said Nay, and one Democrat, Robin Webb, said Yea. In the House the vote was along party lines, but Republicans Banta and Dossett did not vote, nor did Democrat Lisa Willner.