Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today expressed disappointment in the signing into law of House Bill (HB) 180, saying the ban on local hiring goals will disproportionately harm African American workers and minority communities while jeopardizing infrastructure projects in Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland.
“I am deeply disappointed that the governor ignored the request by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus to veto these unfair restrictions,” said Reece. “At a time when African Americans in our state are struggling economically and remain out of work at a rate two times higher than the state average, local hiring goals are a critical tool for urban communities trying to combat local unemployment. By banning local hiring goals, we are handcuffing our communities from making economic development decisions that put more money in the pockets of local residents and more money into local economies.”
Reece and OLBC members earlier this month delivered a letter to Governor Kasich requesting that he veto House Bill 180. In their letter, the lawmakers highlighted the adverse effect the local hiring ban would have on the Cleveland Opportunity Corridor project as well as the city of Akron’s $1.4 billion sewer and water improvement plan, which currently has a local hiring target of 30 percent that would increase to 50 percent by 2018.
The OLBC also sponsored an amendment during the committee process to allow communities to set a five percent local hiring threshold, but the compromise was rejected by GOP lawmakers.