The Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee took testimony Feb. 23 on HB 102 that would prohibit state agencies from requiring or prohibiting certain labor
requirements as a condition of performing public works and prohibit appropriations of state funds for public works when political subdivisions require labor requirements.
Rep. Young described the bill as a “simple, commonsense approach to expanding competition for public construction projects”: for state agencies it “neither prohibits nor requires” union only agreements.
For local political subdivisions, he said it is not as straightforward but the bill provides that if the local government either prohibits or requires union only agreements, then state funding is not available. “In other words,” Young said, “anyone can bid on the projects.” He said prevailing wage would still apply.
Rep. Szollosi asked how this differs from a bill Young sponsored when he was in the General Assembly before — HB101 — which was struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court. Young responded that that earlier bill “attempted to regulate the actions of local authorities.” This bill does not go that far. Szollosi also had a number of questions around whether project labor agreements (PLAs) are affected with Young saying this affects the bidding of a project. Questions that were not answered and left for Legislative Service Commission or Young to research include whether this applies to institutions of higher education, whether this a private company’s project if it is paid in part by a state grant, whether there is legal precedent indicating this approach would hold up in court, which other states have passed similar language, and what “cooperative agreement” refers to.
Asked by Rep. Yuko about what prompted the bill, Young referred to the Ohio School Facilities Commission bidding on the Ohio State School for the Deaf which came in over budget when it was targeted to unions only and how the number of bids tripled and came in under budget when it was opened up. affects