Extending West Virginia’s Home Rule Pilot Project could get serious discussion in the 60-day regular session of the legislature set to begin Feb. 13.
A legislative interim committee made up of House and Senate members discussed a proposed bill Monday that would allow four other cities to join the current four cities that are part of the project. The proposal also continues the pilot project through the year 2018.
City leaders in Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling and Bridgeport have praised the pilot that has given them more local control of city issues.
The proposed bill would add four other cities that fall into the Class II and Class III categories, which are cities that have a population of at least 2,000. Class IV cities are not in the current proposal.
“To exclude them troubles us,” West Virginia Municipal League Executive Director Lisa Dooley told lawmakers Monday. She asked them to amend the proposal.
Dooley also asked changes be made to allow Huntington to keep one of the two tax proposals that it has as part of its home rule.
The home rule pilot project stays away from criminal laws, annexation and municipal pensions.
The interim committee put off a support vote on the entire proposal until next month because there wasn’t a quorum at Monday’s meeting.