House to debate future of Home Rule

The West Virginia House of Delegates should vote today on legislation to expand the state’s Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program for another five years.

Senate Bill 435 is slated for its third and final reading today, and at least eight amendments are to be considered on the floor. The bill would extend the home rule pilot program through July 1, 2019, and allow more municipalities to participate.

Wheeling is one of four municipalities participating in the pilot program, along with Charleston, Bridgeport and Huntington.

“The city of Wheeling has worked hard with the Municipal League and the Legislature to see the program continues,” said Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie. “We feel strongly about bringing local government to citizens. That’s what home rule does. It allows issues unique to a community to be addressed. It’s done well over the last five years. This legislation will hopefully allow more cities to have more autonomy.”

Under the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program, Wheeling reduced the number of businesses licenses required in the city from 77 to just three. City leaders established a vacant structures registration program and began issuing conditional use zoning permits.

Other bills introduced by local lawmakers are set for action today in the West Virginia Legislature, which concludes its regular session at midnight Saturday.

Third Reading in House

SB 208 – (Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Glen Dale) Making supplementary appropriation from State Fund, General Revenue, to Department of Commerce, Division of Labor, and DHHR, Division of Human Services

SB 524 – (Kessler) Supplementing, amending, and adjusting appropriations from State Road Fund to Department of Transportation

SB 526 – (Kessler) Making supplementary appropriation of federal funds to DHHR, Division of Human Services-Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

SB 557 – (Sen. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg) Continuing Preventive Care Pilot Program

Second Reading in Senate

House Bill 2548 – (Delegate Mike Ferro, D-Marshall) Increasing the criminal penalties for assaults and batteries against athletic officials

Second Reading in House

SB 202 – (Kessler) Creating WV Spay Neuter Assistance Program and Fund

SB 331 – (Kessler) Permitting Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority to issue bonds

SB 355 – (Kessler) Relating to final wage payment to discharged employees

SB 371 – (Kessler) Relating to prison overcrowding

SB 523 – (Kessler) Making supplementary appropriation of unappropriated money to various accounts

SB 525 – (Kessler) Making supplementary appropriation of federal funds to various accounts

SB 596 – (Kessler) Determining grant awards for Chesapeake Bay and Greenbrier River watershed compliance projects

SB 604 – (Kessler) Expanding definition of “electioneering communication”

First Reading in Senate

HB 2716 – (Delegate Phil Diserio, D-Brooke) Relating to the West Virginia Fairness in Competitive Bidding Act

First Reading in House

SB 185 – (Kessler) Relating to alternative-fuel motor vehicles and qualified refueling infrastructure tax credits

SB 190 – (Kessler) Relating to public-private transportation projects funding

SB 335 – (Yost) Permitting certain hospitals exemption from certificate of need

SB 394 – (Kessler) Relating to scholarships for dependent children of state troopers who die in performance of duty