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Anti-discrimination housing bill advances in state legislature


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 homebuyers 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, said 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 now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A spokesman said Cuomo will “review” it.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.
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