An Illinois construction worker has alleged that Measure JJJ, the affordable housing measure approved by nearly two-thirds of Los Angeles city voters last November, is unconstitutional because its local hiring provision discriminates against out-of-state competitors.
The claim was made in a suit filed by Jim Luke, a construction worker, and the Golden State Environmental Justice Alliance, a Riverside nonprofit whose website says it is dedicated to fighting on behalf of citizens victimized by “corporate and municipal social and environmental deficiencies and hazards.”
In the lawsuit filed in U.S. Central District Court in Los Angeles, Luke and the alliance allege that because Measure JJJ requires that any residential project seeking a zone change must show that at least 30 percent of its workforce resides in the city of Los Angeles, it discriminates against workers who live outside the region.
“The initiative thus provides an unconstitutional incentive for private contractors to discriminate in hiring construction workers against out-of-state residents,” the lawsuit states. That violates the federal commerce clause, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks to have the measure voided on constitutional grounds.
In response to the lawsuit, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which sponsored the initiative, issued a statement by Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty Hicks saying simply, “The Los Angeles City Attorney prepared the legal analysis for Prop JJJ and never raised this issue.”
A spokesman for Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said the office does not comment on pending litigation.
Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.