Key Notes:

  • The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s injunction preventing implementation of R.C. 9.75, a statute prohibiting the use of local hiring requirements on public projects in Ohio.
  • The decision was made on the grounds that R.C. 9.75 was unconstitutional and violated the municipal right of home rule.

On December 7, 2017, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, upheld a lower court ruling granting the city of Cleveland a permanent injunction in the city’s lawsuit against the state of Ohio related to Ohio’s new local hiring statute, House Bill 180 and R.C. 9.75 (previously designated as R.C. 9.49).

The state’s law prohibits the use of local hiring requirements on public projects in Ohio, and was set to become effective August 31, 2016. In its lawsuit, the city of Cleveland argues that the statute undermines its home-rule authority by barring enforcement of the city’s Fannie M. Lewis Cleveland Resident Employment Law, which requires at least 20 percent of construction hours to be performed by Cleveland residents and four percent of that work to be done by residents considered low-income for all city-funded projects costing $100,000 or more.

On January 31, 2017, Judge Michael Russo of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court granted a permanent injunction against the state of Ohio prohibiting the state from enforcing the new law.

The appellate court upheld the lower court decision on the grounds that R.C. 9.75 was unconstitutional and violated the municipal right of home rule, stating, “R.C. 9.75 is an unconstitutional attempt to eliminate a local authority’s powers of local self-government in negotiating the terms of public improvement projects. R.C. 9.75 was not a valid exercise of the legislature’s authority pursuant to Article II, Section 34, and the statute unconstitutionally infringes upon the municipal home-rule authority guaranteed by Article XVIII, Section 3.”