Indiana Bill Targeting Housing Discrimination Dead In the Water

A bill addressing discrimination in home appraisals and lending in Indiana has died without being heard. On Jan. 25, the state’s House Financial Institutions and Insurance committee decided not to discuss House Bill 1326. Tuesday was the last day for House bills to advance out of legislative committees and to the full House.

Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, who authored the proposed legislation (Photo from Twitter)/Indiana State House (Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash)

HB 1326 would have banned discrimination in appraisals and lending based on the applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, or on the residents of the neighborhood in which the property is located, The Indy Star reported.

Getting fair appraisals in Indiana has been a problem for Black homeowners. In a widely publicized fair housing lawsuit in May 2021, a Black Indianapolis woman’s home appraisal increased drastically after she rid her home of all signs of her racial and cultural identity and had a friend’s white husband stand in for her during a second appraiser’s visit.

Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, authored the proposed legislation. 

“African Americans, their net wealth is just woefully below their white counterparts —a big piece of that is homeownership,” Pryor told the Indy Star before the committee meeting. “The issue of discriminating against people ensures, and really enshrines, the fact that that wealth gap will stay in place, so we have to get at the practices that make that wealth gap.”

Committee chair Rep. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne, declined to hear the bill. 

But Pryor vows to keep pushing. “I will continue to work towards equitable housing policies throughout the remainder of session,” she told the Indy Star following the committee’s refusal to hear the bill.

She added, “After we adjourn, I plan to focus on calling for the General Assembly to create a task force that will take a comprehensive look at our state’s housing issues, including the lasting effects of housing discrimination and shortfalls in affordability and supply.”

Pryor blamed Indiana Republicans for the failure of the proposed legislation. 

“It seems that my bill, and many others, did not receive a hearing because improving the lives of Hoosiers through policies that support human infrastructure doesn’t appear to be a priority to the supermajority,” she said. “Republicans in the General Assembly are more concerned with prioritizing corporations instead of people.”

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