The State of Ohio Enacts House Bill 180 Which Prohibits Local Governments From Enacting Local Hiring Requirements.

By R. Todd Hunt and Susan M. Bungard.

On May 31, 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 180. This bill prohibits a public authority/local government from requiring a contractor to employ a certain percentage of individuals from the geographic area of the public authority for the construction or professional design of a public improvement. The bill further prohibits a public authority from providing a bid award bonus or preference to a contractor as an incentive to employ as laborers a certain number or percentage of individuals who reside within the defined geographic area or service area of the public authority.

House Bill 180 was introduced by State Representative Ron Maag from Lebanon, Ohio. Maag asserted that local hiring rules shut out workers in their regions from getting construction jobs in large cities in their areas. The Ohio Contractors Association also argued that these hiring rules make it harder for contractors to hire the most qualified workers and require contractors to take on unskilled and entry-level workers.

In enacting this legislation, the Ohio General Assembly declared its intent to recognize the inalienable and fundamental right of an individual to choose where to live, that the Ohio Constitution specifies that laws may be passed providing for the comfort, health, safety, and general welfare of all employees, that it is a matter of statewide concern to generally allow employees working on Ohio's public improvement projects to choose where to live and, therefore, it is necessary in order to provide for the comfort, health, safety, and general welfare of employees to generally prohibit public authorities from requiring contractors to employ a certain number or percentage of individuals who reside in any specific area of the state.

Due to the passage of House Bill 180, public authorities, including municipalities, may no longer pass legislation requiring contractors to hire locally. Nor may they give incentives to contractors for reaching local hiring goals.