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Fair housing is the top priority in 2024 for the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus

Earl Harris Junior speaks into a microphone during a press conference. Renee Pack stands behind him, to the side. Harris is a Black man with black hair and a goatee, wearing a suit and tie. Pack is a Black woman with black hair, wearing a green jacket over a dark top.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Chair Earl Harris, Jr. (D-East Chicago) discusses the caucus's 2024 agenda on Jan. 10, 2024. Rep. Renee Pack (D-Indianapolis) stands behind him.

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus said housing should be more accessible, affordable and equitable for all Hoosiers. And that’s the focus of the caucus’s agenda in 2024.

Caucus bills include measures to prohibit housing discrimination against active duty and veteran military servicemembers, to ban foreclosures based on medical debt, and to double the tax deduction for renters.

Caucus Chair Earl Harris, Jr. (D-East Chicago) said housing is an “integral part of the American dream.”

“Owning a home is about far more than having a roof over your head,” Harris said. “It’s about giving Hoosiers a sense of security.”

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Some of the bills have come up before, notably Rep. Cherrish Pryor’s (D-Indianapolis) legislation to ban discrimination in housing appraisals.

Pryor said some members of the Republican supermajority don’t seem to think such discrimination is real.

“I think it’s unfortunate the legislature has not taken the issue as seriously as they should,” Pryor said.

Harris did say that House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) acknowledged the need this session for further work on housing issues.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.