(1) The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that the imposition of residency requirements by public employers works to the detriment of the public health, welfare, and morale as well as to the detriment of the economic well-being of the state. The general assembly further finds, determines, and declares that the right of the individual to work in or for any local government is a matter of statewide concern and accordingly the provisions of this section preempt any provisions of any such local government to the contrary. The general assembly declares that the problem and hardships to the citizens of this state occasioned by the imposition of employee residency requirements far outweigh any gain devolving to the public employer from the imposition of said requirements.
(2) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Employee” means any person who works for a salary or for hourly wages, whether full-time or part-time and whether temporary or permanent. Such term does not include a local government's elected officials or its key appointed officials such as cabinet members, director of public safety, superintendent of schools, fire chief, or police chief and does not include members of a local government's boards or committees if residency requirements are set forth by any ordinance, charter, resolution, or statute of the local government.
(b) “Local government” means a county, city and county, city, municipality, town, school district, local college district, a local improvement and service district, special district, or any other independent local entity having the authority under the general laws of this state to levy taxes or impose assessments.
(3) On and after July 1, 1988, any employee of any local government may at his sole option reside and dwell anywhere such employee chooses, whether within or without the territorial boundaries of the local government, except as provided in paragraph (b) of subsection (4) of this section.
(4)(a) On and after July 1, 1988, no residency requirement may be imposed on any employee by any local government. To the extent that any local government ordinance, charter, resolution, or statute conflicts with this provision, it is hereby preempted by this provision.
(b) Key employees with duties which clearly and demonstrably require them to be close to their place of employment may be subject to reasonable requirements as to the maximum distance the employee's residence may be from the place of work. Such condition may be imposed, after hearing, by ordinance or resolution.
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