Man shot while trying to hold up 3 federal agents in West Baltimore, police say

Thomas Menino

Baltimore's noble but flawed hiring bill

Baltimore's noble but flawed hiring bill

On the face of it, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young's local hiring bill sounds eminently reasonable. When Baltimore spends its residents' tax dollars, why shouldn't it do so in a way that supports hiring city residents, particularly considering the high rate of unemployment here? That common-sense appeal, perhaps, explains why the measure got preliminary approval on a unanimous vote Monday night. Indeed, it sounds like such a good idea that one might wonder: Why doesn't every city and county do the same thing?

The answer, according to the city's Law Department, is that it's unconstitutional. In a pair of memos analyzing this bill, and another related to a...