Finagling in the House of Delegates has finally brought two related issues together: home rule and local gun ordinances.
Late last week it appeared the House was set to pass a senate bill that would have continued the Home Rule Pilot Program. The program gives the participating cities more leeway to create it’s own laws.
As Paul Fallon wrote last week, the bill was tweaked during the committee process so that no participating cities could enact new gun ordinances. But Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said the changes wouldn’t effect cities with such ordinances already in place.
Friday, Kanawha County Republican Patrick Lane proposed an amendment that would void local gun laws.
It’s similar language to a bill the House overwhelmingly approved earlier in the year. Of the four delegates who voted against the bill, three come from Charleston (Mayor Jones hated the bill). Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha, said disallowing city gun ordinances didn’t equate with home rule, a measure that has had bipartisan support in the past.
Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, said his chamber wouldn’t take up the measure due to threats senators received during the legislative process.
Lane’s amendment has derailed the continuation of the home rule pilot program for the moment. The bill was moved to the inactive calendar, with only five days remaining to pass the measure.
In other House action, the chamber’s Health and Human Resources Committee nixed a measure concerning payment for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection testing. The Department for Health and Human Resources lobbied for the bill, saying it fell in line with Affordable Care Act standards.
As more people receive health coverage under the measure commonly known as “Obamacare,” there is less need for departments to pay for work related to the tests themselves, proponents argued.
Most members of the committee disagreed. Lane and Poore both spoke against the bill, saying it was unfair to the people who may need the testing but don’t have a way to pay.