Elections, Government, State Government, West Virginia Legislature

House committee advances bill to change city election dates, another to forbid hotel/motel voucher programs for the homeless

MORGANTOWN — The House Political Subdivisions Committee is once again trying to line up local elections with statewide election dates.

The committee also advanced a bill to prevent the state from requiring hotels and motels to house homeless people.

The elections bill is HB 4436. In its original form it would have required that all municipal elections be held concurrently with statewide primary or general elections starting July 1, 2025.

It’s similar to a bill that the committee advanced last year — as HB 2782 — which was amended in Government Organization but died in its third committee, House Judiciary.

Delegate Jordan Maynor, R-Raleigh, offered an amendment to HB 4436 to strike the option to hold municipal elections concurrently with primaries, thereby limiting them to general elections.

That generated some discussion. Delegate Evan Hansen, D-Monongalia, noted that it could affect local nonpartisan elections held on primary days. It could also put some cities in a bind by extending the terms of some offices.

Delegate Eric Brooks, also R-Raleigh, supported the amendment, saying more people vote at general elections and this could get more voters to the polls for municipal elections.

The amendment was adopted in a voice vote, with Hansen objecting. The committee then approved the amended bill in a voice vote, again with Hansen objecting. It’s only double referenced this year and goes next to Judiciary.

HB 4962 aims to forbid any county, city, town, housing authority or state agency from participating in any program that houses homeless individuals or families in an unoccupied hotel or motel guest room through the use of a housing voucher.

It defines homeless individuals or families as “individuals who lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence or who have a primary nighttime residence in a shelter, on the street, in a park, in a vehicle, or in an enclosure that is not authorized for human habitation.”

The committee approved it without discussion and it goes to Judiciary.

EMAIL: dbeard@dominionpost.com

TWEET @DominionPostWV