In a decision that was issued in a comparatively short time period, the Eighth Appellate District Court of Appeals' in Cuyahoga County affirmed the trial court's decision that the Local Hire law passed by the Ohio legislature and signed into law by the Governor, R.C. 9.75, is a not a valid exercise of the legislature' constitutional authority, and that the statute unconstitutionally infringes on the city's Home-Rule authority.
The Court of Appeals found that Art. II, Section 34 of the Ohio Constitution which the legislature relied upon in enacting R.C. 9.75, does not reach Cleveland's Fannie Lewis law. According to the Court, R.C. 9.75 does not relate to any residency requirement imposed as a condition of employment by employers upon public employees. The Appeals Court did not find that R.C. 9.75 relates to the right of a person to choose where to live and that the statute does not relate to the comfort, health, safety or general welfare of the contractors.
The Court of Appeals said:
"It is readily apparent that R.C. 9.75 is no more than an attempt to preempt powers of local self-government and to restrict the contract terms between public authorities and contractors who choose to bid on local public improvement contracts. H.B. 180 was not advanced by a labor or worker group. It was advanced by a contractor association, not for the benefit of workers, but to benefit their interests. The contractors' interest is in streamlining interactions with municipalities by limiting the ability of municipal governments to place terms or requirements on public contracts that are awarded within those municipal jurisdictions."
Even in this brief excerpt, questions arise regarding the perspective of the Court in viewing the legality of the issue. To analyze the merits of any issue based on who advocated for or against it or to suppose the motivation for that support or opposition would not appear to be an unbiased approach. Clearly the Court failed to connect that associations represent companies and companies hire employees and those same companies have a vested interest in the welfare of their employees.
While this ruling is a disappointment, it was not surprising. The state of Ohio has 45 days from today to file an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. OCA's attorney will be talking to the Assistant Attorneys General in the very near future to make sure they intend to appeal this decision.