House Cuts Out Referendum Recall Language in Home Rule Bill, Makes Program Permanent

Mar 7, 2019

The West Virginia House of Delegates has approved a measure that would make the state’s home rule program permanent. The bill also cut out a significant amendment adopted that would have allowed a referendum override of municipal ordinances under the program.

With Senate Bill 4 on third reading with a restricted right to amend, delegates chose to strike out an aspect that would have allowed for a recall of local laws passed under home rule.

Under the now-omitted subsection, 30 percent of registered voters could have petitioned their municipality for a referendum to reject laws implemented under home rule authority.

Supporters of the referendums say it allowed for true home rule. Opponents say it had discriminatory intent and could have allowed the undoing of non-discrimination ordinances.

Delegates also adopted an amendment that would restrict municipalities from enacting local laws related to firearms that would be inconsistent with state code.

Senate Bill 4 now returns to the upper chamber.