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Maryland

Locals Apply First: Baltimore City Council Passes Local Hiring Bill

P. Kenneth Burns
/
WYPR

The Baltimore City Council unanimously approved Monday a bill requiring some city contractors to make a majority of jobs created by the contracts filled by city residents.

The law would require city contractors with deals worth at least $300,000 or contractors who receive at least $5 million in tax benefits to fill 51 percent of all new jobs created with city residents.

In a statement, City Council President Jack Young thanked his colleagues for their support.

“Passage of this landmark bill represents a renewed sense of hope for the countless families who continue to struggle to pay for basic necessities,” Young said, “I look forward to working with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on the law’s implementation.”

The bill passed over the objections of city lawyers who said the bill would be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in a court.

Councilman Bill Henry said the lawyers are “fairly conservative,” adding that they avoid anything they can’t defend in court. “If the mayor is willing to sign it and the law department is willing to defend it, I bet they can win,” Henry said.

Councilman Carl Stokes said the council was in favor of using tax dollars to help families support themselves. “We certainly want to stop this practice of using tax payer dollars and very little is done to put a dent in the unemployment in Baltimore City,” said Stokes.

A spokesperson for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tells the Baltimore Sun that she'll let the bill become law, but without her signature.