A Billings lawmaker is looking to require that contractors hire more Montana residents for public works projects.

Democrat Sen. Robyn Driscoll introduced Senate Bill 205 in the Senate Business Labor and Economic Affairs Committee on Friday.

Gov. Steve Bullock backs the bill, which would increase the percentage of "bona fide Montana residents" employed on public works projects from 50 to 75 percent.

The quota currently applies to state projects and contractors. Driscoll's measure would extend it to local municipalities, school districts, political subdivisions, clean energy projects and all subcontractors on public works projects.

Cary Hegreberg opposed the bill on behalf of the Montana Contractors Association. Hegreberg said the resident-worker quota is already unenforced and would be further neglected if it is expanded.

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