Jones' proposal would net the city about $3.5 million a year. The money would be used to finance up to $60 million in renovations to the Civic Center. The sum would be borrowed through the sale of bonds, and revenue from the new sales tax would be used to pay the bond debt.
Prohibiting home rule cities from enacting ordinances dealing with guns, marriage or divorce does not harm the bill's intent, which is to give cities more power to deal with issues such as blight and taxation, Morgan said.
A state Home Rule Board must approve all home rule plans and amendments to those plans.
Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie, who attended Tuesday's committee meeting, was pleased with the bill.
McKenzie said home rule boosts economic development because it allows city leaders to deal with problems in their own way.
This "bottom up" approach to government will help West Virginia compete with states such as Virginia, which already grants strong home rule powers to its cities, he said.
"I think this is the most dynamic piece of legislation introduced," McKenzie said. "It empowers people and brings government back to them."
Municipal League Executive Director Lisa Dooley also expressed support for the bill.
The newly amended bill also would allow other cities in the state to apply to become part of the program if they are up to date with all state fees.
As passed by the state Senate, the bill would have restricted the number of cities that could participate to 14, and that included the four original municipalities.
Those four are grandfathered into the program under the newly amended bill.
The bill could be further amended in the full House of Delegates. The amended version will have to go back to the Senate if the House passes it, McKenzie said.
The two houses must agree on a final version of any bill before it can be sent to the governor for his signature.
McKenzie, a former state senator, expects the Senate to amend the bill further.
"No one knows what they'll do," he said.