Home Rule

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States that use the "Home Rule" when interpreting law any time there is a question whether a local government has a certain power, are sometimes referred to as Home Rule states, in which localities are determined to have the inherent authority to exercise powers that promote the public health, safety or welfare, even if they are not expressly enabled.[1]

Virginia is one of 39 states that do not recognize "Home Rule," but rather obey the legal principle of Dillon's Rule for determining local government authority - also referred to as "Dillon Rule."

Types of Home Rule

Pure home rule assumes that a local government may exercise all authority not specifically prohibited it by a state’s constitution or statutory law. The Virginia General Assembly has been opposed to extending home rule to its localities. Three types of Home Rule are generally recognized based on the scope of power granted to localities and upon the extent of local freedom from reliance upon the state’s legislature for such powers:

  1. Self-executing constitutional home rule or mandatory constitutional home rule.
  2. Permissive constitutional home rule.
  3. Legislative home rule.[2]

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  1. https://www.baconsrebellion.com/archive/issues/05/10-03/Curious.php | “Why Does Dillon Rule? Or Judge John’s Odd Legacy” Nice & Curious Questions by Edwin S. Clay III and Patricia Bangs
  2. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58706fbb29687f06dd219990/t/5b10a409575d1ff378884313/1527817225112/lwvfa-dillon+rule-article+Oct+2004+LWVFA+Voter.pdf | October 2004, League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Education Fund.

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