The First Source law was first enacted in January, 1984. The purpose of the law was to get D.C. residents hired on projects receiving some form of government assistance in excess of $100,000. The law stated that 51% of new hires must be D.C. residents. It also requires that 35% of all apprenticeship hours on the project be performed by District residents.
As of February, 2012, the law was amended to require additional provisions involving the hiring of District residents:
1. At least 20% of all journey worker hours by trade shall be performed by District residents.
2. At least 60% of all apprentice hours by trade shall be performed by District residents.
3. At least 51% of all skilled labor hours by trade must be performed by District residents.
4. At least 70% of all common laborer hours must be performed by District residents.
ABC of Metro Washington's Suit Against the District of Columbia Regarding the Legality of First Source
The lack of skilled DC residents in the construction trades has made it difficult for construction companies to comply with the original First Source law. The 2012 amendments have made it virtually impossible for companies to comply. Because of the burden this places on the ABC membership and the construction industry, ABC of Metro Washington filed suit against the District of Columbia in 2012 questioning the legality of restricting employment based on residency.
December 30, 2021, Judge Emmet Sullivan reaffirmed that the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution does not apply to the District of Columbia government, because the District is not a “state.” Justice Sullivan, however, went further holding that the Due Process Clause of the Constitution does not protect citizens from discriminatory actions that are protected by Privileges and Immunities Clause. As such, District residents – who are not citizens of a state and therefore not protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause – are not protected against the type of discriminatory conduct that the Privileges and Immunity Clause was crafted to prevent.
February 1, 2022, ABC of Metro Washington appealed the case.
March 14, 2023, ABC of Metro Washington issued a statement after the District of Columbia Court of Appeals’ ruling that ABC Metro Washington did not have standing to challenge the amended First Source Act of 2012.
For questions, email Dan Bond