As the State Senate prepares to hear testimony from subpoenaed real estate professionals Thursday, Long Island real estate industry leaders, elected officials and housing advocates say they support more vigorous enforcement of fair housing laws — but the effort comes as the state faces a budget shortfall that is forcing painful spending cuts.
At the online hearing on housing discrimination, lawmakers expect to question real estate agents from brokerages identified in Newsday’s "Long Island Divided" investigation into housing discrimination. The hearing was originally scheduled for April but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The proceeding, which will begin at 10 a.m. and can be viewed on the State Senate’s website, also will include testimony from experts on real estate and housing bias who are expected to testify about ways to ensure compliance with the law, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fair housing.
I want to understand, since this investigation came out, since we started the hearing, what have they done differently," State Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee, said of real estate professionals. "We haven't really used our subpoena power that often and... I hope they are forthcoming. I hope they understand the severity of what's going on here."
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