This week, Republicans in the state Senate are seeking to strike down an innovative policy that could help city leaders connect local residents to career-track jobs on public works projects.
The Senate Committee on Transportation and Public Works will vote Monday on Senate Bill 288 — a bill that is an overt attempt to usurp power from city leaders across the state by preventing them from maximizing the economic return of city public contracts. As a member of the House representing East Baton Rouge, I strongly oppose this pre-emption of local government authority.
Though the bill would affect all jurisdictions in the state, it was written to overturn Hire NOLA, a local-hire policy passed last fall that requires contractors on city projects to make a “good-faith effort” to ensure that some jobs go to Orleans Parish residents, particularly those who traditionally face barriers to employment, including low-income workers, military veterans, single parents and other disadvantaged workers. New Orleans has consistently faced disproportionately high unemployment rates, particularly for the city’s black men, 52 percent of whom are out of work.