CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Legislation to extend and expand a municipal home-rule pilot project (SB435) will be on amendment stage in the House of Delegates Wednesday morning, after the House Rules Committee on Tuesday evening moved the bill back to the active calendar.
The committee had moved the bill to inactive status Friday, after Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, submitted a proposed amendment to the bill that would nullify firearms ordinances in Charleston and three other cities.
Legislation to nullify the city gun regulations (HB2805) passed the House 94-4 on March 11, but was declared dead by Senate leadership after some senators received threatening calls and emails from proponents, demanding passage of the bill.
On Tuesday, Lane submitted an alternate proposed amendment that somewhat tones down that proposal.
As currently submitted, the amendment would state that cities wishing to participate in the extended municipal home-rule program may not have city ordinances restricting purchases of firearms or ammunition.
The bill allows the four cities currently in the home-rule pilot project to automatically extend their participation through 2019. That includes Charleston, which would require city officials to choose whether they want to continue home rule or maintain municipal restrictions on handgun purchases, if the amendment is included in the version of the bill that becomes law.
Also Tuesday, House Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said he is continuing talks with Senate leadership regarding a bill to approve a sales tax increment-financing district for a $96 million development outside of Morgantown (SB125).
"We'll continue discussions with the Senate this evening," Miley said Tuesday.
The bill is the final step toward authorizing the development, which would include a new exit off Interstate 79 between Westover and Star City, development of 1,400 acres of property for retail, Class A office space and light industrial facilities. The district would also include a $16 million baseball park to host West Virginia University and a New York-Penn League affiliate.
The bill passed the Senate 34-0 on March 11, but has been held up in House Judiciary after Bridgeport Mayor Jim Christie raised concerns that the Morgantown project could harm his city's sales tax TIF project, the Charles Pointe development.
Miley said the bill is still alive as of Wednesday since a second committee reference to Finance could be waived because the legislation would have no fiscal impact on the state.Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.