The state is planning to appeal the decision of a Cuyahoga County court that ruled 131-HB180 as unconstitutional because if violates home rule.

The city of Cleveland sued after Gov. John Kasich signed HB180 (Maag), which banned municipalities from requiring architects and contractors to hire to a certain percentage of local residents for the construction of public projects. Opponents of the law said the measures allow cities to make sure local workers are getting jobs on local construction projects, while supporters said such laws raise costs and hurt competition.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Russo sided with Cleveland this week, granting a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the law. Russo wrote that the General Assembly did not have the authority to enact the law because it only seeks to dictate the terms by which municipalities may contract for workers within their region, not provide for the comfort, health, safety and welfare of employees. He also said the law violates home rule powers. 

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson praised the decision. “For 12 years the city of Cleveland has used the Cleveland Resident Employment Law (Fannie Lewis Law) as an effective tool to both stimulate the local economy and connect Clevelanders to employment. There are billions of dollars of development happening in our city; yet special interests in Columbus are attempting to prohibit our residents from seeing a financial impact from that development. Judge Russo’s decision is right and I thank him for correcting this wrong,” he said in a statement.

Legislative Democrats who voted against the bill also praised the decision.

“The state should partner with local communities to expand economic opportunities for everyone, not attack home rule authority and restrict residents from participating in their own communities’ economic development,” said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron).

Added Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron), “Our constitution preserves and protects the right and responsibility of citizens to exercise self-governance in their community. The ruling in Cleveland not only upholds this fundamental tenet of American democracy in Ohio, but it also preserves the freedom of local communities to make decisions that increase economic stability and ensure equal employment opportunities for citizens.”