Tennessee Bill to ban renting to tenants in US illegally dead for year

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Members of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition celebrate at the Cordell Hull legislative building in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, after the defeat of a state bill that would have barred most landlords from renting housing to people in the United States illegally. (AP Photo/Jonathan Mattise)

A Tennessee bill to ban most landlords from renting or subleasing housing to people in the U.S. illegally is dead for this year’s legislative session.

A GOP-led House panel voted 10-8 Tuesday to send Republican Rep. Bruce Griffey’s legislation to summer study, ending its consideration.

Griffey’s bill would penalize landlords for allowing residents in their property while knowing or recklessly disregarding that they’re in the U.S. illegally. First-time offenders would face a misdemeanor punishable by a $350 fine, with increasing penalties.

The proposal would exempt landlords with fewer than five units.

Joining Democrats in opposition, some Republican lawmakers questioned the constitutionality of the bill and called it unfair to force small businesses to check the legal status of renters.

The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition celebrated the bill’s defeat.

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