Bill Filed in Legislature to Negate Nashville’s ‘Local Hire’ Amendment

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, Sept. 14, 2015:

NASHVILLE – State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) filed legislation today to stop local governments from enacting any charter provision, ordinance, resolution, referendum or regulation which requires a company bidding on a public construction project to employ individuals that reside within their jurisdiction.

The legislation comes after the adoption of a charter amendment pushed by labor unions in Nashville that requires at least 40 percent of work hours of local companies bidding on contracts come from Davidson County workers on Metro construction projects that cost $100,000 or more. The amendment does not affect companies outside of Tennessee which can hire as many out-of-county or out-of-state workers as they choose.

“This constitutionally suspect amendment, which discriminates against local businesses, is misguided,” said Senator Johnson. “It will result in increased costs to taxpayers in a wide variety of ways, including less competition for contracts, delayed construction projects, and greater administrative costs to implement the regulatory guidelines of the amendment. But most of all, it has a chilling effect on the economic growth and development of this area and Tennessee as a whole.”

The practical effect of Johnson’s bill would be to nullify the Metro Nashville amendment. It would also prevent other local governments from taking similar action in the future.

“More than half of workers in Middle Tennessee reside in another county,” added Johnson. “This amendment discriminates against thousands of workers who commute short distances from adjoining counties.”

The General Assembly will return to Nashville on January 12. The bill is expected to be considered early in the legislative session.