The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News

Latest News

July 9, 2013

Mayor awaiting conference to examine home rule for Beckley

BECKLEY — Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh is a proponent of home rule but says the idea needs to be examined during next month’s West Virginia Municipal League conference before a formal application is pursued.

League members plan to meet Aug. 7-9 in Charleston, and the middle day of the gathering is to be devoted to home rule, expanded this year by the Legislature to allow membership cards to 14 cities from the original four in a pilot project.

“We’re going to go through that and get all the ins and outs, and see, and start a determination from there,” Pugh said Monday.

Pugh said he hasn’t organized a special exploratory committee yet, but intends to do so once the Municipal League winds up its annual conference.

“I think that’s going to prove invaluable, because there’s no sense in trying to go down an avenue and find out the road’s closed down there,” the mayor said.

While Pugh favors the concept of home rule, which expands the powers of municipalities, he said, “It’s a matter of what we can kind of come up with.

“The whole purpose of home rule is to make government a little bit easier and give us some tools that we don’t necessarily have now,” he said.

“We’ve seen some of the programs of home rule, like vacant building registration up in Wheeling. They’ve had some limited success up there. I like the thing Charleston is doing with on-spot citations for code enforcement. It just cuts down on the bureaucracy of things.”

Only two delegates opposed the idea in the 2013 session, and one of them, Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, questioned the legality of limiting home rule to 14 cities. She recently asked Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for an opinion on the constitutionality of the new law, contending that home rule should be open to any city that wishes to participate.

Home rule initially was a pilot that covered Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling and Bridgeport.

Pugh chaired the Home Rule Commission as the governor’s designee and was familiar with the original bill, but acknowledged that some changes have occurred since then, which makes the Municipal League study even more important.

“I need to familiarize myself with the whole program,” he said.

“I like it because it is from the ground up. You basically decide what you want to do on the local level and you percolate from the bottom, starting with council, and it goes all the way up to the state level.”

A home rule board would screen applications and decide which cities are to be recommended, he pointed out.

“I think we would have a pretty good chance,” Pugh added.

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014

  • VA Greenbrier clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    July 31, 2014

  • prezarrested.jpg Protesters arrested at UMWA Rally in Pittsburgh

    After marching from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the William S. Moorehead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, around 15 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders were arrested.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Mercer shooting sends one to hospital

     One person has been shot following an apparent altercation in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    July 31, 2014

  • UMWA1.jpg More than 5,000 protesting new EPA rules at rally

    Today, 73 buses will bring miners and UMW members to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a labor rally and march through downtown Pittsburgh.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Kroger restricts pseudoephedrine sales in state

    Supermarket chain Kroger is tightening monthly purchase limits of cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine at its West Virginia stores.

    July 31, 2014

  • ‘Biscuit guy’ makes his mark with anthem at TWV

    The old saying “being at the right place at the right time” couldn’t be more true for Calvin Alexander. Thanks to a salad dressing bottle (and some impressive vocal skills), Alexander was invited to sing the national anthem not once, but twice, at Theatre West Virginia before the opening of “Hatfields and McCoys."

    July 31, 2014

  • legion American Legion posts plan to merge

    To help deal with its decreasing membership numbers, Beckley American Legion Post 70 is planning a merger with Post 32. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • legal Tort reform group brings message to Beckley

    How can West Virginia create more jobs and have a better business climate, at no cost to taxpayers? Greg Thomas, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA), says legal reform is one of the answers to that question.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo