CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Senate bill to extend the state's home rule pilot project received overwhelming support Thursday in the House of Delegates, but amendments could cause problems when it returns to the Senate for final approval.
The House of Delegates passed the bill, which now includes language targeting municipal gun ordinances, with a 95-3 vote.
Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, said the Senate likely would not agree to the changes. He said the Senate probably would call for a conference committee to work out the differences.
Although there was some discussion Wednesday when Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, proposed to include the gun restriction language, few spoke to the merits of the bill Thursday.
Kanawha County Democrats Nancy Guthrie and Meshea Poore each spoke against the bill's additional gun language. Both said they support home rule, but think the gun portions of the bill hurt Charleston and other participating cities.
"This isn't a law enforcement provision. This is an NRA provision. And the NRA is in the business of selling guns," Guthrie said during her floor speech.
Delegate Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson, joined Guthrie and Poore in their dissent.
Snyder, who is chairman of the Senate Government Organization Committee, said the Senate's opposition to the newly amended bill has little to do with guns.
While the Senate's original home rule bill limited the program to 14 cities, House amendments would open it to all 234 cities in West Virginia.
"It would just overwhelm the Home Rule Board," he said.
The state Home Rule Board must approve all home rule plans and amendments to those plans.