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Anti-Housing Discrimination Bill Advances In NYS Legislature

NYS Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Karen DeWitt

The New York state legislature is approving a bill that would take away the licenses of real estate agents who engage in housing discrimination because of a person’s race.

The measure was prompted by an expose in Newsday about  systematic housing discrimination on Long Island, where brokers steered white potential home buyers to white neighborhoods, and Black and Brown prospective buyers to areas where African Americans and Latinos dominated.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first African American woman and first woman to lead the Senate, says the measure would issue fines and revoke or suspend the licenses of real estate brokers and salespeople who are found to have violated the state’s human Rights Law, which provides fair access to housing for New Yorkers.   

“Should you be a broker that is involved in illegal steering, you will have your license pulled,” Stewart-Cousins said, in an interview with public radio and TV.

The measure goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo. A spokesman says Cuomo will review it.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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