Home Rule

In a session dominated by an omnibus education bill that ultimately died, lawmakers know officially now that they'll be back for a special session on education. We bring you the latest, and we also speak with the presidents of two state universities.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

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.


Restaurants in Martinsburg are now able to sell alcohol before 1 p.m. on Sundays.

The Martinsburg City Council approved a home rule law Thursday night to allow the sale of alcohol at restaurants, wineries, distilleries and private clubs beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Brunch, Alcohol
MAT HAYWARD / Dollar Photo Club

The West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board has approved six more cities to sell alcohol at restaurants, wineries, distilleries, and private clubs on Sundays before 1 p.m.

Charleston, South Charleston, Bluefield, Martinsburg, Clarksburg, and Lewisburg have all been approved to pass city laws on what’s commonly referred to as the brunch bill.

Huntington America's Best Community FInalist
America's Best Communities Competition

The city of Huntington’s advancement to the finals of the America’s Best Communities competition presents a unique opportunity for a city striving to improve itself.

Huntington was selected by a panel of judges to be one of eight finalists in the national competition for America’s Best Community.

Harrison County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

 Bridgeport's City Council has approved 1 percent local sales tax to finance construction and operation of a proposed indoor recreation facility.

The new tax will go into effect on July 1, 2016.

Arthunter / wikimedia commons

Taxable items and services offered by Weirton businesses soon will cost an additional penny on the dollar.

The Weirton Daily Times reports that City Council voted on Monday to create a 1 percent municipal sales tax under the state's home rule program. The council also amended its business and occupation tax to eliminate a wholesale tax.

Harpers Ferry was the site of the US Armory, and played a vital role before and during the Civil War.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Harpers Ferry, John Brown, US Armory, Robert E. Lee, Civil War

Elkins and Harpers Ferry have gained a larger say in how they govern.

The West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board granted both municipalities home rule status on Monday. The program shifts power from the state to the local level.

Tim Kiser / wikimedia Commons

Six West Virginia municipalities have been given a larger say in how they govern.

The West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board granted home rule status to Beckley, Grafton, Princeton, St. Albans, Moundsville and Oak Hill on Monday.

Arthunter / wikimedia commons

Weirton City Council plans to establish a city sales tax under the state's home rule program.

The City Council plans to ask the West Virginia Home Rule Board to approve an amendment to Weirton's home rule plan implementing a 1 percent sales tax.

An aerial view of downtown Parkersburg.
Yassie / wikimedia Commons

Businesses in Parkersburg and Vienna will begin charging an additional penny on the dollar for taxable items and services this week.

Each city has implemented a 1 percent municipal sales tax under West Virginia'sMunicipal Home Rule Pilot Program. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that the municipal taxes will be added to the state's 6 percent sales tax on Wednesday.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Martinsburg officials plan to use the city's new home rule authority to crack down on sanitation and nuisance violators.

Planning department head Michael Covell tells The Journal that the city will begin issuing warnings and citations to violators in July. Violations include unmowed lawns and open storage in residential districts.

Morgantown Fires
AP Photo / The Dominion Post, Bob Gay

In response to the many street fires following big football and basketball games, Morgantown unanimously passed a law Tuesday, April 7, that bans upholstered furniture outdoors.

An aerial view of downtown Parkersburg.
Yassie / wikimedia Commons

  Seven cities participating in West Virginia's home rule pilot program have won approval to impose sales taxes.

The West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board also approved Wheeling's plan to increase an existing sales tax to 1 percent.

The board considered the tax proposals and other aspects of the cities' home rule plans during a meeting Monday in Fairmont.

Chris Light / en.wikipedia

Several cities participating in West Virginia's home rule program are seeking approval to impose sales taxes.

The tax proposals and other requests will be considered by the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board on Monday during a meeting in Fairmont.

Martinsburg Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau

The West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board announced the sixteen new cities who will take part in the extension of the pilot program Monday in Bridgeport.

Home rule legislation was first adopted in the state as a five year pilot program for four cities. In 2013, the program was extended through 2019 and expanded to an additional 16 cities.

wikimedia / Wikimedia

St. Albans has lost its bid to join the state's home rule program because of technical problems with its application.

The West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board denied St. Albans' application on Monday. Board members said the city didn't submit paperwork in time.

St. Albans was one of 23 municipalities seeking to participate in the program. Sixteen will be chosen.

state capitol
wikimedia / Wikimedia

More than 20 West Virginia cities are seeking to participate in a program that would give them a larger say in how they govern.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 The number of cities seeking to participate in West Virginia's Municipal Home Rule Program is growing.

WDTV reports that Shinnston City Council voted Monday to allow the city to submit an application to the Home Rule Board.

Last week, city councils in Martinsburg and Nitro approved similar ordinances. Other cities seeking participation in the program include Bluefield, Clarksburg, Fairmont, Morgantown, Buckhannon and Elkins.

An Eastern Panhandle city and another city in the Kanawha Valley will seek to participate in the state's Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program.
 The Martinsburg City Council and the Nitro City Council both approved ordinances on Tuesday authorizing the submission of applications to the program.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Martinsburg's City Council plans to vote this week on whether the city will apply for the state's home rule program.

A final vote is scheduled Tuesday on a proposed ordinance that would authorize Mayor George Karos to submit the city's application.

The Journal reports that Martinsburg's application includes adopting a 1 percent sales tax. Business and occupation taxes on wholesale and retail businesses would be reduced. The B&O tax on amusement businesses would be eliminated.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Martinsburg officials plan to gather input from residents and property owners on the city's home rule application. A public hearing is set for tomorrow night as part of a special City Council meeting.

A gun rights group has gone to court in an attempt to stop enforcement of Charleston's gun ordinances.
     The West Virginia Citizens Defense League asked Kanawha Circuit Court on Tuesday to issue an injunction against the ordinances.