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W.Va. Senate OK's More Local Gov't Power-shifting

The pilot's power-shifting would also not extend to several other areas: annexation, pensions, criminal justice, projects funded through tax revenue sharing, environmental laws, and coal mining or other natural resource extraction. No proposed changes could apply to people or property outside municipal boundaries.

The Municipal League supports expanding the pilot, as opposed to allowing home rule statewide as last year's audit recommended. Dooley said her group would seek such minor changes as ensuring that the ban on environmental laws would not interfere with efforts to demolish blighted buildings that may contain asbestos, for instance.

"This bill is the vehicle that we'll be working on to reach a final bill," Dooley said.

Each city or town wanting to apply must first hold a public hearing to explain its plans, after providing 30-days' advance notice. That prior notice must include making a written copy available. The municipalities selected by the board must then repeat that public hearing process to detail any proposed ordinances, rules or other changes. It must then provide all comments received during that public hearing to the oversight board.

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Follow Lawrence Messina at http://twitter.com/lmessina

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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