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A House committee Thursday approved a measure 10-0 to tighten requirements for a municipal elected official to reside within his or her city.

Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, said current state law is too vague to enforce, as he observed in a case within his legislative district where a city leader spent a year living outside the city he represented and there was no recourse. "Legally speaking, you would be hard pressed to force them out of office."

Under Perry's HB186, an elected leader could reside outside the city for up to 60 days. Longer than that, "if they move out and their primary residence is moved somewhere else, they're just out of office," he said.

The bill does include exceptions in case of an emergency — fire making a home inhabitable, for instance — and it also would allow for a waiver of the residency requirement for up to one year if the decision is approved by the mayor and city council in a public meeting.

After clearing the House Political Subdivisions Committee, HB186 goes to the full House for consideration.