The North Carolina State Senate’s proposed budget, which passed by a vote of 32-15, with 3 abstentions, on June 18, 2015, repeals the State Fair Housing Act and eliminates the North Carolina Human Relations Commission (NCHRC), the state body that currently has authority to investigate and enforce the law. The provisions, which are contained in the Senate’s 508-page budget bill, also calls for the repeal of a state statute prohibiting the interference with another person’s civil rights.
The North Carolina House budget bill did not contain similar provisions repealing the State Fair Housing Act or eliminating the NCHRC. Because the differences in the bills passed by the Senate and House, a conference committee will be appointed to reconcile the differences.
North Carolina’s State Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, familial status, and disability. The law is considered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be “substantially equivalent” to the federal Fair Housing Act. As such, North Carolina currently participates in the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) under which HUD refers most fair housing cases in the state to the NCHRC for investigation and resolution. Currently, the vast majority of states – 35 states, plus the District of Columbia – have such fair housing laws and participate in the FHAP program.
The fair housing provisions of the Senate bill are found on pages 390-391 of the Senate bill, NC Senate Budget Bill 2015.