Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President and Industry Relations

Apartment Inspection Reform Bill Moves Forward In House

AAM’s efforts to reform the current apartment inspection law took another step forward with the recent approval of the Local Government Committee in the Michigan House of Representatives. Senate Bill 107 was approved by the committee unanimously, on an 11-0 vote, and now goes to the full House for a vote. As you may recall, this legislation amends the Housing Law of Michigan to provide that the lessee’s permission is needed prior to local government entry to inspect. Current state law allows a local government to compel an apartment owner, regardless of the resident’s wishes, to provide unit access if the lease allows the owner right of entry at any time. AAM has stated its concern that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Michigan Senate already approved the bill, on a 37-0 vote, on the final day of Senate session prior to its summer recess. We appreciate the leadership of the bill’s sponsor, Senator Rick Jones (R–Grand Ledge).

MCRC Will Not Reinterpret Civil Rights Act

An effort to reinterpret Michigan’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity has failed in the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC). MCRC was petitioned by Equality Michigan to provide an interpretive statement to clarify the Elliott Larsen Act’s definition of sex discrimination. The interpretive statement would have included protections for the LGBT community. However, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office testified that only the Michigan Legislature could reinterpret the act, and if the commission issued such a rule it could be subject to a lawsuit. This latest action comes after multiple legislative attempts to expand the civil rights act have failed.

On a federal level, legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes currently identified in the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act. The legislation, called the Equality Act of 2017, would explicitly ban discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in housing, employment, credit, public education, and other areas covered by anti-discrimination laws.

Fair Housing Seminar Set for November 15

If you have staff in need of a Fair Housing seminar, AAM has scheduled a program for Wednesday, November 15 from 9:00 am – Noon. The instructor will be Kathleen Mabie of Success OnSite. Please visit http://www.apartments.organd click the link at the top of the page for details and registration.

 

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