08 March 2010

Home Rule in West Virginia

The Associated Press reports that "state lawmakers appear ready to increase the independence of West Virginia's local governments, and they aren't waiting on results from an ongoing experiment on the subject."

The article highlights two House-passed measures now in the Senate that Gov. Joe Manchin included in his agenda this session and that have won the back of such groups as the state's Municipal League.

"Both proposals emerged from the home-rule pilot project that since 2007 has allowed a handful of cities to test out expanded powers," the article said. "But the bills' opponents want to wait until the project ends and reports results."

Besides Manchin, supporters of the measures include cities taking part in the pilot program and the West Virginia Municipal League. The state's Insurance Federation helped craft one of the bills, and believes it can help resolve its pending legal battle with Huntington.

The Charleston Gazette, meanwhile, highlights that city's participation in the pilot project. "I just can't say enough about this home rule," Charleston Planning Director Dan Vriendt told the newspaper. "It's worked just the way we hoped it would."

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