AMERICANS are fed up with legislative processes that are so overcomplicated that they stymie sensible legislation. The home rule bill that passed the Legislature is a case in point.
At issue was whether to extend a pilot project that gave city governments more leeway in solving city problems. The four initial participants - Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling and Bridgeport - used it to raise revenue, promote economic development and clear blighted properties.
The straightforward approach would have been to extend the program and give more cities the tools to tackle such issues.
But Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, championed a measure that ended up in the House-Senate compromise.
Under the final version of the home-rule bill, Charleston may continue to participate in the project only if it gives up a 20-year-old ordinance that restricts would-be purchasers of handguns to one a month. The city adopted it to discourage drug dealers from becoming gun dealers in their home cities.
Cities could still prohibit the open carrying of guns in municipal buildings where public business is done, and on municipal properties - but people with concealed weapons permits could still carry.
Details and litigation to follow.
Thus did a straightforward deregulation measure aimed at allowing cities to pursue community problems end up an overregulated mess that will make progress more difficult.
Legislative cleverness is not the same thing as legislative wisdom.