Some fear proposed bill could eliminate Black requirement on Alabama Real Estate Commission

Alabama News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Some realtors are upset over a proposed bill in the Legislature that they believe could hurt minority representation on the Alabama Real Estate Commission. 

Since 1988, state law has required that at least one member of the governor-appointed commission be Black.  

“Before we were appointed or given a specific seat, we weren’t given a seat,” said Joyce Shivers Harris, the long Black commissioner on the Alabama Real Estate Commission. “Our voices were not heard.”  

Among other things, SB 331 would change the way that commissioners are appointed. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville.

Harris is not the only one who’s worried about what effects the bill could have on minority representation of realtors in the state.

“Today, in the social and political climate we’re in, that’s very concerning that the bill is looking to do away with that seat,” realtor Marcus Brown said.

Realtor Jessyca McKnight echoed the same concerns.

“There could have been more minorities appointed to that board, but that has only been the minority required for that seat,” McKnight said.

Harris alleged that the bill is being pushed the Alabama Association of Realtors. She said that while there are other, unrelated parts of the bill that are worthwhile, she and her fellow commissioners are steadfast in keeping the minority position. 

If the bill passes the Senate, it still must be approved by the House. Opponents of the bill say they will be putting pressure on lawmakers to either change it or vote it down.  

Shelnutt was not available for comment at deadline.

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