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Ohio Legislature Approves Ban On Local Hiring Requirements

[photo: Matt Richmond / ideastream]

The Ohio legislature has passed a bill that would prevent governments from adding local hiring quotas to public contracts. It's on Gov. Kasich's desk now, waiting for his signature.

House Republicans first introduced HB 180 last year, arguing that hiring restrictions reduce the number of bids and drive up prices. It passed the Senate Wednesday 23-10, along strict party lines, after passing the House last year. The bill also had support from the state’s chamber of commerce and contractors association.

Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) opposed the new rule. She says the local hiring requirements opened the door to people usually left out of government contracts.

“And we will be taking a step backwards if we allow HB 180 to become law here in Ohio,” says Howse.

HB 180 would overturn a 2004 Cleveland law, known as the Fannie Lewis law, requiring 20% local labor for contracts over a $100,000.

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley says that  law was serving its purpose and helping spread prosperity in the city.

“We got this right, we don’t need big government from Columbus telling us how we should spend money or how we should bid our contracts or how we should deal with construction in the City of Cleveland,” says Kelley.

The state bill is now waiting for Gov. Kasich's approval or a veto.


Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.