This spring, the 131st General Assembly passed House Bill 180 to prohibit public authorities from imposing local hiring requirements on public projects. The Bill repeals two sections of the Ohio Revised Code (§ 153.13 and § 5525.26) that required contractors on public construction projects to hire a portion of their workforce from the local municipality and also invalidates city ordinances with similar hiring requirements, such as Cleveland’s Fannie Lewis ordinance, which required contractors on contracts over $100,000 to employ 20% of their workforce from Cleveland.

Supporters of the Bill argued that eliminating local hiring requirements enables workers living in rural regions to work on construction contracts in metropolitan areas. Contractors now have greater hiring flexibility and can shift their focus to hiring only the most qualified workers, regardless of their geographic location. The Bill may also cause an increase in the number of contractors competing for any given public project, arguably lowering project costs and benefiting taxpayers. The General Assembly hopes to see an increase in the quality of public projects at a lower price.

As a shortage of qualified labor is one of the construction industry’s greatest challenges at the moment, this Bill may provide some relief.

The law goes into effect August 31, 2016.