Session Law

2014

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Chapter 110 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE POWERS OF THE BOSTON FAIR HOUSING COMMISSION

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Section 2 of chapter 37 of the acts of 1994 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 3, the words “and source of income” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-  , source of income, gender identity and any additional protected classes recognized by the general court or the United States Congress with respect to fair housing laws.
     SECTION 2.  Section 4 of said chapter 37 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 8, the words “or source of income” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-  , source of income, gender identity  or any additional protected classes recognized by the general court or the United States Congress with respect to fair housing laws.
     SECTION 3.  Said chapter 37 is hereby further amended by striking out section 5 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
     Section 5.  In the city of Boston, discriminatory housing practices are prohibited. Regulations promulgated pursuant to this act and chapter 10 of the city of Boston Code of Ordinances, as amended, enumerate the discriminatory practices; provided, however, that no practice shall be prohibited under this act unless the practice is also prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act or chapter 151B of the General Laws.
     SECTION 4.  The first paragraph of section 7 of said chapter 37 is hereby amended by inserting after the word "residence", in line 7, the following words:-  , unless, with respect to the sale or rental of such unit, any person: (i) makes, prints, publishes, or causes to be made, printed or published, any notice, statement or advertisement that indicates a preference, limitation, exclusion or discrimination based upon any category of people protected by city, state and federal fair housing law, as those categories may from time to time be amended; (ii) coerces, intimidates, threatens or interferes with another person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by this act; or (iii) coerces, intimidates, threatens or interferes with a person who aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by chapter 10 of the city of Boston Code of Ordinances, as amended, or this act.
     SECTION 5.  The third paragraph of said section 7 of said chapter 37 is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sentences:-  If the commission determines, after investigation, that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of a complaint, the commission shall immediately attempt to eliminate the discriminatory housing practice complained of through conciliation and mediation.  If the commission, after a hearing, finds that a respondent has engaged in any unlawful practices as set forth in section 5, it shall state its findings of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the respondent an order requiring the respondent to cease and desist from the unlawful practice or violation.
     SECTION 6.  Section 8 of said chapter 37 is hereby amended by inserting after the second sentence the following sentence:- The order or decision of the commission shall be reviewed under the standards for review provided in paragraph (7) of section 14 of chapter 30A of the General Laws.
      SECTION 7.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, May 21, 2014.