2020 Home Rule: A State and Local Law Symposium

Local governments are creatures of the state and must look to the state for authority through state constitutions, local charters, and state legislation. The lines between state and local government authority can be contentious. Across the country, many local governments seek the right to govern themselves, aka “home rule.”

West Virginia launched its Home Rule Pilot Program in 2007 allowing for greater municipal self-determination within the limits of state law. This program has increased innovation in municipalities by allowing them to respond to individual demands through tailored regulation and has served as a national model for other states looking to expand municipal powers. Municipal regulation covers topics such as energy facility siting, anti-discrimination, minimum wage, gun regulations, and consumer protection.

West Virginia made the Home Rule Pilot Program permanent in 2019. As a result, the 2020 West Virginia Law Review Symposium will explore the development of “home rule” and the tensions that arise between the state and local governments.


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Thursday, February 27th
12:00 PM

Home Rule and Lobbying: Investigating localities’ ability to lobby their state officials

Paul Diller, Willamette University College of Law

Morgantown, WV

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

1:15 PM

Home Rule and Gun Regulation: Assessing gun sanctuaries that conflict with state law by concentrating on gun violence in Seattle and Pittsburgh

Sheila Simon, Southern Illinois University College of Law
Matthew Davis, Birmingham City University School of Law

Morgantown, WV

1:15 PM - 2:35 PM

2:45 PM

Home Rule and LGBTQ+ Legislation: Analyzing the importance and effect of local LGBTQ+ legislation

Mark Dorosin, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Rosemary Humway-Warmuth, Wheeling, West Virginia City Solicitor
Andrew Schneider, Fairness West Virginia

Morgantown, WV

2:45 PM - 4:05 PM

Friday, February 28th
8:45 AM

Welcome Remarks

Jessica Haught, West Virginia University College of Law

Morgantown, WV

8:45 AM - 9:00 AM

9:00 AM

Home Rule and Criminal Justice Reform: Examining the potential for localities to implement criminal justice reform with a specific focus on the West Virginia public defender system

Hope DeLap, West Virginia Innocence Project, Cleckley Fellow
Ralph McKinney, Marshall University
Casey Baker, Marshall University

Morgantown, WV

9:00 AM - 10:20 AM

10:40 AM

Home Rule and Consumer Law: Delving into how municipalities can best address consumer protection

C. Damien Arthur, Marshall University
Loren Allen, West Virginia Bankers Association
Kathy Lawson, West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions
Kevin Baker, City Attorney, Charleston, West Virginia
Jennifer Wagner, Mountain State Justice

Morgantown, WV

10:40 AM - 12:00 PM

12:15 PM

Keynote Address, Courts and Home Rule

Frayda S. Bluestein, University of North Carolina

Morgantown, WV

12:15 PM - 12:55 PM

1:10 PM

Home Rule and West Virginia: Looking back at the West Virginia Home Rule Pilot program from its inception in 2007 to its statewide enactment in 2019

Jesse Richardson, West Virginia University College of Law
Bob Bastress, West Virginia University College of Law
Ryan Simonton, Kay Casto & Cheney PLLC
Paul Ellis, Forbes Law Office PLLC

Morgantown, WV

1:10 PM - 2:30 PM

2:50 PM

Home Rule and the Environment: Exploring how municipalities address environmental policy gaps including farmland solar policy and pipeline routing

Heidi Robertson, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Sarah Fox, Northern Illinois University College of Law
Genevieve Byrne, Vermont Law School

Morgantown, WV

2:50 PM - 4:20 PM

4:15 PM

Featured Speaker, Home Rule and Drone Ordinances: Reviewing the intersection of drones and privacy rights and how States and localities are more willing to address the issue than the federal government

Jennifer Brobst, Southern Illinois University School of Law

Morgantown, WV

4:15 PM - 4:55 PM