LANSING — State Reps. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) and Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township) introduced a package of bills last week to create the Prohibited Restrictive Covenants Act in relation to housing deeds. House Bill 4676, introduced by Rep. Anthony, will prohibit deed restrictions on the basis of race, sex, national origin, familial status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, individuals with sensory, mental or physical disabilities will also be protected from discrimination.
“The time is now to bring Michigan up to speed with our civil rights laws,” Rep. Anthony said. “As elected officials, we have the responsibility to ensure our state’s housing policies are fair and accessible to all, and this legislation will be integral in achieving that.”
Despite the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, many deeds in Michigan still contain discriminatory and unconstitutional restrictive covenants.
“Segregation with its able henchman of redlining, steering by real estate agents and pernicious deed restrictions helped create segregated neighborhoods,” said Historical Society of Greater Lansing President Bill Castanier, who supports the bill. “Rep. Sarah Anthony’s legislation would prohibit such discrimination and eliminate one of the last vestiges of segregation in home ownership.”
Beyond the creation of the Prohibited Restrictive Covenants Act, this legislation would also render any prohibited restrictive covenants in an existing deed void.
“These bills acknowledge that not enforcing racist restrictive covenants is simply not enough, and are a step towards extinguishing hate in our laws,” said Lansing ACLU Local Unit Charles Hobbs in support of the package.