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As Connecticut House Approves Housing Discrimination Bill, Not All Advocates Are Pleased

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The Connecticut House of Representatives has approved a controversial bill aimed at combating housing discrimination. The bill proposed was by the advocacy group Desegregate Connecticut.

The bill’s most controversial provision that would have required municipalities to create multi-unit housing near transportation hubs was dropped.

Representative Christin McCarthy Vahey is the House chair of the Planning and Development Committee. She said the provisions that remain are still a step forward.

“We have training provisions for our land use commissioners. We have reorganized our land use statute which gives additional tools to our municipalities as they look at how we use our land and prepare and plan for our future,” Vahey said.

However, fair housing advocates said they’re not happy with some of the changes in the bill. 

Luke Reynolds is with Desegregate Connecticut. He said lawmakers put in a provision that would allow towns to opt out of some of the bill’s requirements.

“With an opt-out provision, the legislation will not realize its potential to add tens of thousands of housing units in Connecticut. Which can only happen with common-sense guidelines adopted on a statewide basis,” Reynolds said.

The bill also requires that local zoning boards take actions to overcome patterns of segregation and address significant disparities in housing needs and access to opportunities. It calls for the appointment of a commission to study the problem and recommend future legislation.

Opponents said the bill is an overreach. They said the state should not get involved in local zoning.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.