LRB-0201/1
MIM:emw
2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
February 14, 2020 - Introduced by Representatives Hebl, Neubauer, Anderson,
Cabrera, Crowley, Emerson, Ohnstad, Sargent, Stubbs, C. Taylor and
Gruszynski, cosponsored by Senators Johnson and Larson. Referred to
Committee on Housing and Real Estate.
AB915,1,6 1An Act to amend 66.1011 (1), 66.1201 (2m), 66.1213 (3), 66.1301 (2m), 66.1331
2(2m), 66.1333 (3) (e) 2., 106.50 (1), 106.50 (6) (a) 1., 106.50 (6) (b), 106.50 (6) (d),
3106.50 (6) (e) 1., 106.50 (6) (f) 5., 106.50 (6) (h), 106.50 (6) (i), 106.50 (6m) (a),
4106.50 (6m) (d) and 106.50 (8) (a); and to create 106.50 (3) of the statutes;
5relating to: discrimination in housing based on prior evictions and providing
6a penalty.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill provides that it is discrimination under the state open housing law to
do any of the following:
1. Inquire, whether orally or in writing, of a prospective tenant or any other
individual about any eviction of a prospective tenant that occurred more than five
years prior. The bill prohibits a prospective tenant from being asked about prior
evictions unless the prospective tenant is informed that evictions more than five
years old need not be disclosed.
2. Refuse to rent housing to an individual, or otherwise treat an individual
unequally in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of housing, because of an
eviction of the individual that occurred more than five years prior to the date of a
rental application.
The open housing law is administered by the Department of Workforce
Development, which receives, investigates, and evaluates complaints of violations

and may order relief in appropriate cases. Persons who allege a violation of the open
housing law may also bring a civil action.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB915,1 1Section 1 . 66.1011 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,2,142 66.1011 (1) Declaration of policy. The right of all persons to have equal
3opportunities for housing regardless of their sex, race, color, disability, as defined in
4s. 106.50 (1m) (g), sexual orientation, as defined in s. 111.32 (13m), religion, national
5origin, marital status, family status, as defined in s. 106.50 (1m) (k), status as a
6victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, as defined in s. 106.50 (1m) (u),
7lawful source of income, age, or ancestry, or having a record of evictions that occurred
8more than 5 years prior
is a matter both of statewide concern under ss. 101.132 and
9106.50 and also of local interest under this section and s. 66.0125. The enactment
10of ss. 101.132 and 106.50 by the legislature does not preempt the subject matter of
11equal opportunities in housing from consideration by political subdivisions, and does
12not exempt political subdivisions from their duty, nor deprive them of their right, to
13enact ordinances that prohibit discrimination in any type of housing solely on the
14basis of an individual being a member of a protected class.
AB915,2 15Section 2 . 66.1201 (2m) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,3,216 66.1201 (2m) Discrimination. Persons otherwise entitled to any right, benefit,
17facility, or privilege under ss. 66.1201 to 66.1211 may not be denied the right, benefit,
18facility, or privilege in any manner for any purpose nor ; may not be discriminated
19against because of sex, race, color, creed, sexual orientation, status as a victim of
20domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, as defined in s. 106.50 (1m) (u), or

1national origin; and may not be questioned about, or denied housing due to, evictions
2that occurred more than 5 years prior
.
AB915,3 3Section 3 . 66.1213 (3) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,3,104 66.1213 (3) Discrimination. Persons otherwise entitled to any right, benefit,
5facility, or privilege under this section may not be denied the right, benefit, facility,
6or privilege in any manner for any purpose nor; may not be discriminated against
7because of sex, race, color, creed, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic
8abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, as defined in s. 106.50 (1m) (u), or national origin;
9and may not be questioned about, or denied housing due to, evictions that occurred
10more than 5 years prior
.
AB915,4 11Section 4 . 66.1301 (2m) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,3,1812 66.1301 (2m) Discrimination. Persons entitled to any right, benefit, facility,
13or privilege under ss. 66.1301 to 66.1329 may not be denied the right, benefit, facility,
14or privilege in any manner for any purpose nor; may not be discriminated against
15because of sex, race, color, creed, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic
16abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, as defined in s. 106.50 (1m) (u), or national origin;
17and may not be questioned about, or denied housing due to, evictions that occurred
18more than 5 years prior
.
AB915,5 19Section 5 . 66.1331 (2m) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,4,220 66.1331 (2m) Discrimination. Persons otherwise entitled to any right, benefit,
21facility, or privilege under this section may not be denied the right, benefit, facility,
22or privilege in any manner for any purpose nor; may not be discriminated against
23because of sex, race, color, creed, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic
24abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, as defined in s. 106.50 (1m) (u), or national origin;

1and may not be questioned about, or denied housing due to, evictions that occurred
2more than 5 years prior
.
AB915,6 3Section 6 . 66.1333 (3) (e) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,4,104 66.1333 (3) (e) 2. Persons otherwise entitled to any right, benefit, facility, or
5privilege under this section may not be denied the right, benefit, facility, or privilege
6in any manner for any purpose nor; may not be discriminated against because of sex,
7race, color, creed, sexual orientation, status as a victim of domestic abuse, sexual
8assault, or stalking, as defined in s. 106.50 (1m) (u), or national origin; and may not
9be questioned about, or denied housing due to, evictions that occurred more than 5
10years prior
.
AB915,7 11Section 7. 106.50 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,5,212 106.50 (1) Intent. It is the intent of this section to render unlawful
13discrimination in housing. It is the declared policy of this state that all persons shall
14have an equal opportunity for housing regardless of sex, race, color, sexual
15orientation, disability, religion, national origin, marital status, family status, status
16as a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, lawful source of income,
17age, or ancestry and it. It is also the declared policy of this state that individuals
18should not be denied rental housing based upon evictions that occurred more than
195 years prior. It
is the duty of the political subdivisions to assist in the orderly
20prevention or removal of all discrimination in housing through the powers granted
21under ss. 66.0125 and 66.1011. The legislature hereby extends the state law
22governing equal housing opportunities to cover single-family residences that are
23owner-occupied. The legislature finds that the sale and rental of single-family
24residences constitute a significant portion of the housing business in this state and
25should be regulated. This section shall be considered an exercise of the police powers

1of the state for the protection of the welfare, health, peace, dignity, and human rights
2of the people of this state.
AB915,8 3Section 8. 106.50 (3) of the statutes is created to read:
AB915,5,54 106.50 (3) Denial of rental housing based on eviction record. It is unlawful
5for any person to do any of the following:
AB915,5,136 (a) Inquire, whether orally or in writing, of a prospective tenant or any other
7individual about any eviction of the prospective tenant that occurred more than 5
8years prior. If an owner, lessor, owner's agent, or lessor's agent inquires of a
9prospective tenant or any other individual about evictions of the prospective tenant,
10it is unlawful for the owner, lessor, owner's agent, or lessor's agent to fail to inform
11the prospective tenant or other individual that the prospective tenant or other
12individual is not required to disclose an eviction that occurred more than 5 years
13prior.
AB915,5,1714 (b) Refuse to rent housing to an individual, or otherwise treat an individual
15unequally in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of housing, because of an
16eviction of the individual that occurred more than 5 years prior to the date of a rental
17application.
AB915,9 18Section 9 . 106.50 (6) (a) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,5,2219 106.50 (6) (a) 1. The department may receive and investigate a complaint
20charging a violation of sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3) if the complaint is filed with the
21department not later than one year after the alleged discrimination occurred or
22terminated.
AB915,10 23Section 10 . 106.50 (6) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,6,1124 106.50 (6) (b) Powers and duties of department. The department of workforce
25development and its duly authorized agents may hold hearings, subpoena witnesses,

1take testimony and make investigations as provided in this subsection. The
2department of workforce development may test and investigate for the purpose of
3establishing violations of sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3) and may make, sign and file
4complaints alleging violations of sub. (2), (2m) or , (2r), or (3). In addition, the
5department of safety and professional services may make, sign and file complaints
6alleging violations of sub. (2r) (c). The department of workforce development shall
7employ examiners to hear and decide complaints of discrimination under this
8section, and to assist in the administration of this section. The examiners may make
9findings and issue orders under this subsection. The department of workforce
10development shall develop and implement an investigation manual for use in
11conducting investigations under par. (c).
AB915,11 12Section 11 . 106.50 (6) (d) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,6,2213 106.50 (6) (d) Temporary judicial relief. At any time after a complaint is filed
14alleging discrimination in violation of sub. (2), (2m), or (2r), or (3), the department
15may request the attorney general to file a petition in the circuit court for the county
16in which the act of discrimination allegedly occurred or for the county in which a
17respondent resides or transacts business, seeking a temporary injunction or
18restraining order against the respondent to prevent the respondent from performing
19an act that would tend to render ineffectual an order that the department may enter
20with respect to the complaint, pending final determination of proceedings under this
21section. On receipt of the department's request, the attorney general shall promptly
22file the petition.
AB915,12 23Section 12 . 106.50 (6) (e) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,7,224 106.50 (6) (e) 1. Upon the filing of a complaint alleging discrimination in
25violation of sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3), the department may endeavor to eliminate

1the discrimination by conference, conciliation and persuasion. The department shall
2notify the parties that conciliation services are available.
AB915,13 3Section 13 . 106.50 (6) (f) 5. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,7,134 106.50 (6) (f) 5. If after the hearing the examiner finds by a fair preponderance
5of the evidence that the respondent has violated sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3), the
6examiner shall make written findings and order the respondent to take actions that
7will effectuate the purpose of sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3), and may order other
8penalties, damages and costs as provided in pars. (h) and (i). The department shall
9serve a certified copy of the final findings and order on the aggrieved party, the
10complainant and the respondent. The order shall have the same force as other orders
11of the department and be enforced as provided in this subsection except that the
12enforcement of the order is automatically stayed upon the filing of a petition for
13review under par. (j).
AB915,14 14Section 14 . 106.50 (6) (h) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,7,2115 106.50 (6) (h) Damages and penalties. 1. If the hearing examiner finds that
16a respondent has engaged in or is about to engage in a discriminatory act prohibited
17under sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3), the hearing examiner shall promptly issue an
18order for such relief as may be appropriate, which may include economic and
19noneconomic damages suffered by the aggrieved person, regardless of whether he or
20she intervened in the action, and injunctive or other equitable relief. The hearing
21examiner may not order punitive damages.
AB915,8,922 2. In addition to any damages ordered under subd. 1., the hearing examiner
23may assess a forfeiture against a respondent who is not a natural person in an
24amount not exceeding $10,000, unless the respondent who is not a natural person
25has been adjudged to have committed any prior discriminatory act under sub. (2),

1(2m) or, (2r), or (3). If a respondent who is not a natural person has been adjudged
2to have committed one other discriminatory act under sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3)
3during the preceding 5-year period, based on the offense date of the prior
4discriminatory act, the hearing examiner may assess a forfeiture in an amount not
5exceeding $25,000. If a respondent who is not a natural person has been adjudged
6to have committed 2 or more prior discriminatory acts under sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r),
7or (3)
during the preceding 7-year period, based on the offense date of the prior
8discriminatory act, the hearing examiner may assess a forfeiture in an amount not
9exceeding $50,000.
AB915,8,2110 3. In addition to any damages ordered under subd. 1., the administrative law
11judge may assess a forfeiture against a respondent who is a natural person in an
12amount not exceeding $10,000, unless the respondent who is a natural person has
13been adjudged to have committed any prior discriminatory act under sub. (2), (2m)
14or, (2r), or (3). If a respondent who is a natural person has been adjudged to have
15committed one other prior discriminatory act under sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3) based
16on an offense date that is before September 1, 1992, the administrative law judge
17may assess a forfeiture in an amount not exceeding $25,000. If a respondent who is
18a natural person has been adjudged to have committed 2 or more prior
19discriminatory acts under sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or (3) based on an offense date that
20is before September 1, 1992, the administrative law judge may assess a forfeiture in
21an amount not exceeding $50,000.
AB915,15 22Section 15 . 106.50 (6) (i) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,9,223 106.50 (6) (i) Attorney fees and costs. The hearing examiner may allow a
24prevailing complainant, including the state, reasonable attorney fees and costs. The
25state shall be liable for those fees and costs if the state is a respondent and is

1determined to have committed a discriminatory act under sub. (2), (2m) or, (2r), or
2(3)
.
AB915,16 3Section 16 . 106.50 (6m) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB915,9,74 106.50 (6m) (a) Any person alleging a violation of sub. (2), (2m), or (2r), or (3),
5including the attorney general on behalf of an aggrieved person, may bring a civil
6action for injunctive relief, for damages, including punitive damages, and, in the case
7of a prevailing plaintiff, for court costs and reasonable attorney fees.
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