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NE Ohio Cities Laud Judge's Overturning of a State Law That Forbade Local Hiring Rules

Judge Michael Russo
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

Update:The state is planning to appeal the ruling striking down H.B. 180.

City leaders in Cleveland and Akron are praising a judge’s permanent injunction against the state law banning local hiring standards for publicly financed projects.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo ruled that H.B. 180 violated Ohio’s constitutional guarantee of home-rule authority. Cleveland sued the state after the law was enacted last year because it upended the city’s 12-year-old local hiring requirement.

In Akron, city spokeswoman Ellen Lander-Nischt says the judge’s ruling is particularly important as the city moves ahead with a sewer project estimated at more than $1 billion, which has its own local hiring requirement.

“Obviously we’re happy that this stay in the court will allow us to continue to require that of our contractors. However, whether this law is in place or not, we’re going to make sure we do everything we can to hire as many local residents as possible.

"Because at the end of the day they are footing the bill, so we want to make sure they’re getting jobs, they’re getting training and they’re seeing some of that benefit economically.”

"HB 180 seeks only to dictate the terms by which municipalities may contract for workers." -- Judge Michael Russo

H.B. 180 was enacted in response to contractors saying local hiring requirements made it hard for them to hire the most qualified workers. Some Republican legislators contended that the local hiring rules kept workers from rural communities from getting jobs in the bigger cities.