State Senator Joe Uecker (R–Miami Township) today announced the Senate passage of legislation prohibiting local governments from requiring contractors and design professionals to reside within a particular city as a condition for participating in city projects.
“Numerous organizations representing dozens of businesses across Ohio testified in support of Senate Bill 152," Senator Uecker said. “It is my duty to combat these discriminating policies which limit competition and prevent the people of southwest Ohio, and all of Ohio for that matter, from having the best opportunities to thrive.”
The proposed legislation seeks to eliminate residency requirements on Ohio contractors and design professionals. Existing requirements drive up the costs for local infrastructure projects by lowering the number of qualified contractors eligible to bid of the project.
Residency requirements reduce competition and increase project costs as fewer contractors are able to bid on these projects due to unknown labor expenses. Ultimately, they give an advantage to out-of-state workers and their employers. The U.S. Constitution protects against discriminatory hiring practices based on state of residence but no protection exists to prevent these practices based on residence within the same state.
"Our bill is simple: it's about lowering costs for Ohio's cities; and eliminating baseless stipulations some cities have placed on small businesses that would otherwise be willing to perform higher quality work at a lower cost," said Uecker.
In 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court decided that cities could no longer require employees to reside within their city limits as a condition of employment. The Court determined that such requirements violated an employee's protected rights.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.