LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Anti-Discrimination Penalties Signed into Law; COVID-19 Relief Talks Continue in Congress

Philip Weiden | August 2020

The beat goes on both at the federal and state level; issues that affect everyone in our industry and everyone in the country as well. It is imperative that Congress pass new legislation that provides aid to local and state governments, aid to small businesses to keep them afloat, and aid to landlords so they do not face foreclosure on their buildings.

The current negotiations for the next relief bill being discussed would include aid to unemployed Americans at some level, direct payments to most Americans below a certain income level, as well as school aid and health care for example. The Senate bill includes liability protection for businesses so that they are not sued for failing to live up to certain safety regulations that are required as a result of COVID-19. The House bill includes major aid for state and local governments that are facing big deficits due to the loss of tax revenue. The Senate is against that provision in the bill.

In other news primary elections have taken place at the state level. Many incumbents across New York City were defeated by Democratic Socialist members and Working Family Party members. Given the high level of voter participation and voting by mail it has taken several weeks to count ballots, which may not bode well for election night in November. We could be waiting several weeks for results.

Also, on the state level, a new anti-discrimination bill has been passed and signed into law by the governor that would allow the New York Department of State to suspend a Realtor’s license if they discriminate against prospective tenants or buyers based on any of the protected classes enumerated in the state’s fair housing law. This is a step forward in holding our industry accountable. Stay tuned for further updates on these issues.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.