The act expands the statutory list of state laws for which the attorney general may bring civil and criminal enforcement actions to include various statutory provisions relating to housing.
The act also creates the fair housing unit within the department of law.
When there is reason to believe that there is a potential violation of law that risks harm to a consumer, public health, or public safety, that is based on a substantiated complaint, the act permits the attorney general to investigate any person or organization that is otherwise subject to the attorney general's existing statutory authority. A complaint is not necessary if the information is provided by an agency of the federal, state, or a local government that regulates or provides protections for consumers, tenants, and mobile home residents. The attorney general may direct or subpoena any person whose testimony may be required about potential violations of law and may direct or subpoena the person to produce records the attorney general considers relevant to the inquiry.
Nothing in the act impacts or affects banking examinations and regulations promulgated by primary federal and state banking authorities, notwithstanding the attorney general's existing legal authority.
When the attorney general has reasonable cause to believe that any person, whether in this state or elsewhere, has engaged in or is engaging in a violation of certain housing-related statutes, the attorney general may take various steps, enumerated in the act, to investigate the possible violation.
The act specifies requirements concerning the venue in which enforcement actions may be brought, the issuance of subpoenas and the production of documents, admissibility of testimony, remedies for failure to cooperate or to obey a subpoena, injunctive authority and assurances of discontinuances, penalties, and the limitations period governing the filing of an action alleging violations of housing-related statutes.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)