Appeals Court Allows Residency Requirement on Public Construction Projects

Appeals Court Allows Residency Requirement on Public Construction Projects

A ruling by Ohio’s 8th District Court of Appeals upheld Cleveland’s public construction residency requirement law, striking down legislation passed by the Ohio legislature that attempted to ban such practices.

By declaring House Bill 180 unconstitutional, the court granted chartered municipalities the right to enforce hiring requirements on certain publicly-funded construction projects. This means cities including Columbus, can require contractors to hire a designated percentage of their residents to work on certain public construction projects.

The ruling is good news for the City of Columbus and the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, who on Oct. 31, signed a historic Community Benefits Agreement. Within the CBA is a residency requirement for the construction of Fire Station No. 35, which ensures C/COBCTC members who live and pay taxes in the City of Columbus will have a fair chance to work on this project.

In the decision, Judge Sean C. Gallagher, Jr. wrote, “H.B. 180 was not advanced by a labor or worker group.  It was advanced by a contractor association, not for the benefit of workers, but to benefit their interests.  The contractors’ interest is in streamlining contract interactions with municipalities by limiting the ability of municipal governments to place terms or requirements on public contracts that are awarded within those municipal jurisdictions.”

In striking down H.B. 180, the 8th District Court of Appeals reaffirmed a chartered city’s ability to create laws. In this particular case, the law serves to benefit the residents of Columbus, not contractors looking to streamline their hiring processes.

H.B. 180 was signed into law in May 2016 and the City of Cleveland won a temporary restraining order against it on Aug. 30. Since then, the bill worked its way through the court system, up to the 8th District Court of Appeals.

A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office did not know if the ruling would be appealed.

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