U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider ( D-10 ) is the first co-sponsor on a bipartisan bill, introduced March 10, that expands federal housing protections to the LGBT community.
The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017, which is H.R. 1447, was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor ( R-Va. ) and expands protections from Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, which mandates non-discrimination for housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability, to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Only 22 states, Illinois among them, have such protections in place.
Schneider told Windy City Times that, even in an especially tumultuous federal political climate, "You've got both sides of the political aisle looking to make a difference. … I think we're hoping that, by building some broader bipartisan support, we push this forward. What's happening on the national scene is consuming so much of the news, we may be able to find people who want to have a positive impact at home."
In a March 10 statement, Taylor, who is a real estate broker, said of the bill, "Nobody should face discrimination when it comes to something as important as where they choose to live. Bad credit, poor references, and a lack of respect for property should be the criteria for judging with whom you should and shouldn't do business. This bill protects equal access to housing opportunities for all Americans, and I urge my colleagues to support it."
Schneider was also among 10 Democratic members of Illinois' congressional delegation who, in early March, signed a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner urging him to support continued protections for transgender school students in the state, following the Trump Administration's revocation of trans-affirming federal Title IX guidelines. Schneider said that, as of March 12, Rauner had not yet offered a response.