La. House rejects eviction protection bill
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the House rejected a proposal to give domestic violence victims new protections from eviction in Louisiana, amid concerns it would take away landlords' rights and lead to lawsuits.
The Senate had unanimously passed the anti-discrimination measure (Senate Bill 233) by Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge. But the bill ran into more criticism as it moved to the House, and lawmakers there voted 63-34 against the proposal Thursday.
Rep. Helena Moreno said the bill was narrowly tailored and would only apply to large apartment complexes. The proposal would have made it illegal to refuse to rent to someone because that person has been a victim of domestic abuse or to terminate a lease based on a domestic dispute. Moreno, D-New Orleans, said domestic violence victims often face another "form of abuse" because they are denied housing.
"Women who are being battered are being evicted from their apartments where they currently live and end up on the street," she said.
Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Napoleonville, said federal law offers protections to people who are victims of domestic abuse, and he questioned the need for more. Harrison said he owns rental property and thinks the bill opens landlords up to more lawsuits.
"We have to allow the landlord, the owner of the property, to have their property right, to make the best determination of who should live there," said Rep. Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie, who spoke in opposition to the bill.