Ohio architects are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to prevent local hiring preferences, according to AIA Ohio Executive Vice President, David Field. On June 29, 2018, AIA Ohio filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief with the Ohio Supreme Court in support of the State of Ohio, to prevent local residency quota requirements in public works construction.
Field said, “the 131st General Assembly passed House Bill 180 in 2016 to enact current R.C. 9.75 prohibiting residency requirements for construction employment.”
That section provides that “No public authority shall require a contractor, as part of a prequalification process or for the construction of a specific public improvement or the provision of professional design services for that public improvement, 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.”
The City of Cleveland Ordinance Chapter 188 nevertheless remained on the books, requiring that a minimum of 20 percent of the total construction work hours be performed by Cleveland residents, and that no fewer than 4 percent of those resident work hours be performed by low-income persons.
Cleveland sued the State of Ohio, claiming that its Ordinance prevailed over the state prohibition. The Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County) found the state statute unconstitutional, violating Constitutional “Home Rule” which authorizes cities to pass certain laws in conflict with state statute.
Noting that Cincinnati, Columbus, and Akron also enacted similar residency requirements, the appellate Court ruled that, “It is readily apparent that R.C. 9.75 is no more than an attempt to preempt powers of local self-government and to restrict the contract terms between public authorities and contractors who choose to bid on local public improvement contracts.”
The State of Ohio appealed, and the Ohio Supreme Court awaits briefing from the parties before hearing arguments and deciding the fate of the statute.
Field says, “AIA Ohio has called to the Supreme Court’s attention the fact that the legislature also enacted its legislative intent to protect design professionals in the statute.” As expressed by HB 180 Sponsor, Representative Ron Maag (62nd House District, Warren County), on October 21, 2015, “The purpose of this legislation is to protect taxpayer dollars by prohibiting the state and local governments from imposing residency requirements on contractors and design professionals.”
AIA Ohio’s brief and the briefing of the other parties are available on the Supreme Court’s website at: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Clerk/ecms/#/search
Case No. 2018-0097
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