The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit set aside a lower court’s decision against an Idaho law that banned government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) on taxpayer-funded construction projects. This is the third federal Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the right of a government entity to restrict government-mandated PLAs. The other rulings occurred in Michigan in 2013 and Washington, D.C., in 2002. 

Additionally, in May 2015, a federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Louisiana’s 2011 law banning government-mandated PLAs was neither unconstitutional nor preempted by the National Labor Relations Act. Similarly, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa upheld a pro-neutrality executive order issued by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) in 2011. 

Idaho is one of 23 states to issue “government neutrality in contracting” laws restricting government-mandated PLAs. Twenty of the laws have been enacted since 2009, when President Barack Obama issued the pro-PLA Executive Order 13502. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin became the first Democratic governor to sign legislation banning PLA mandates on March 26, and Nevada became the 23rd state to ban government-mandated PLAs on June 9.