Lawmakers Weighing Expanding Home Rule Pilot Program

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Some West Virginia lawmakers want to experiment further with granting increased governing powers to cities and towns.

Four more municipalities would take part in the state's home rule pilot project under a bill discussed Monday by a House-Senate study subcommittee.

Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling and Bridgeport have taken part so far. Their mayors have raved that the pilot has improved services and lowered costs for residents and businesses.

The draft bill would forbid any municipal changes related to annexation, pensions or criminal penalties. Any tax changes require the approval of at least 55 percent of residents.

The draft bill would also void any tax changes already made. A group representing cities wants that amended to allow Huntington to continue with one of its two tax changes.