State Senate committees to hold hearing on Long Island housing discrimination

Keith Herbert

Originally published in Newsday

Three State Senate committees, including one with subpoena power, plan to call witnesses from the real estate industry and the state agencies that regulate them during a hearing on housing discrimination on Long Island next month.

The hearing follows a Newsday investigation that found widespread evidence of unequal treatment of would-be minority homebuyers on Long Island. It would be the first Senate hearing into housing discrimination in at least three decades.

The three committees — Housing, Construction and  Community Development; Consumer Protection; and Investigation and Government Operations, which has the power to subpoena witnesses — will hold the hearing in December.

Top officials with the New York Department of State, which licenses real estate agents in New York, and the state Department of Human Rights, which investigates housing discrimination complaints, also could be called to testify, said Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), who's chairman of the Consumer Protections committee.

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