Ohio Supreme Court Shuts Down Local-Hiring Requirements in Public Construction Contracts

By Tom Cardone, Frantz Ward

The Ohio Supreme Court today issued a knockout punch to public authorities seeking to enforce local-hiring requirements on public-construction projects.

In 2003, the Cleveland City Council enacted what is generally known as the “Fannie Lewis Law.” The much-disputed law required public-construction contracts valued at $100,000 or more to include a provision mandating that Cleveland residents perform 20 percent of total construction labor hours on the contract. Contractors awarded projects but who failed to comply would be subject to monetary penalties and, potentially, contract termination and disqualification from future public work. 

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