Blocking local overreach has been an NFIB priority in 2016.
Legislature Reined In Localities This Session
Local governments overstepping their authority
has become a growing problem nationwide, and Tennessee has been no exception.
These moves are typically well-intentioned, but harmful to small businesses. So
it’s good news for NFIB/Tennessee members that the General Assembly made it a
priority to address aggressive overreaches of power from local governments
during the 109th session.
Here’s a look at three important bills that were
Local for Hire
SB 1621/HB 1674, sponsored by NFIB members Sen.
Jack Johnson (Franklin) and Rep. Pat Marsh (Shelbyville0, makes it clear that
“local hiring” initiatives are illegal and prohibits the state or any local
government from requiring a company bidding on a state/local construction
project to employ workers who reside with the state/local jurisdiction. While
well-intended, local hire measures are costly, discriminatory, unworkable, and
ultimately hurt Tennessee-based construction employers and workers. This bill
was passed—and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam—in response to a charter amendment
passed in Nashville in 2015.
Ban the Box Protection
SB 2103/HB 2002, sponsored by Sen. Johnson and
Rep. Jimmy Matlock (Lenoir City), blocks local governments from requiring
private employers to “ban the box” on job applications. Under ban the box
measures, employers may not inquire into a candidate’s criminal history until
later in the employment process, such as at the in-person interview stage or
after a conditional offer has been made. Gov. Haslam signed this bill into law
in March, along with a separate bill (SB 2440/HB 2442) that bans the box just
on state employment applications, with certain exceptions.
SB 1636/HB 1632, sponsored by NFIB member Sen.
Ferrell Haile (Gallatin) and Rep. Glen Casada (Franklin), prohibits local
governments from enacting zoning regulations that require a percentage of
existing or newly constructed private residential or commercial rental units be
allocated for affordable or workforce housing. This measure, which was signed
into law by the governor, was introduced in response to inclusionary zoning law
attempts in Nashville and Chattanooga.
Jim Brown, NFIB’s Tennessee state director,
noted that local governments only have the authority granted to them by the
state and that NFIB/Tennessee will remain vigilant to ensure labor and
regulatory mandates do not infringe upon members’ right to own, operate, and
grow their businesses.