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WV Funeral Protest Bill

ENROLLED

COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

for


H. B. 3144

(By Delegates Butcher, Paxton, Manchin, Stowers,

Hall, R. Phillips, L. Phillips, Longstreth,


Iaquinta, Rodighiero and Perdue)

[Passed March 12, 2011; in effect ninety days from passage.]


AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-8-15, relating to creating a criminal offense and adding misdemeanor criminal penalties for picketing or disrupting funerals or memorial services.


Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-8-15, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY AND DECENCY.

§61-8-15. Prohibition on certain demonstrations at funerals.


(a) No person may carry out,
with respect to any cemetery or building at which a funeral or memorial service or ceremony is to be held, a demonstration within 500 feet of the cemetery or building that:
(1) Is conducted during the period beginning 60 minutes before and ending 60 minutes after the funeral or memorial service or ceremony is held; and
(2) Includes, as a part of such demonstration, any individual willfully making or assisting in the making of any noise or diversion that disturbs or tends to disturb the peace or good order of the funeral or memorial service or ceremony.
(b) For purposes of this section, the term “demonstration” includes the following:
(1) Any picketing or similar conduct.
(2) Any oration, speech, use of sound amplification equipment or device, or similar conduct before an assembled group of people that is not part of a funeral or memorial service or ceremony.
(3) The display of any placard, banner, flag, or similar device, unless such a display is part of a funeral or memorial service or ceremony.
(4) The distribution of any handbill, pamphlet, leaflet, or other written or printed matter other than a program distributed as part of a funeral or memorial service or ceremony.
(c) Any person who violates the provisions of subsection (a)
is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for an indeterminate sentence of not more than one year and fined not less than $200 nor more than $500.

3 comments

  1. I think (a) should be extended to 2 miles, (1) Should be 24 Hours before and after. (4) (C) Penalty be no less than one year in jail and $1,000 nor more than $10,000 fine. I pray that someone will put some teeth in this and really hammer these knuckleheads that come in and protest a funeral of anyone let alone one of our fallen hero’s. God Bless America.

    • While I’m not going to totally disagree with you, James, as a “beginning”, this is a good first step for West Virginia. Similar attempts at passage had been made in every Legislative session since 2006, each time allowing to die in Committee. With some modifications and “nudging”, they were able to to get this one through and signed.

  2. Please keep me up to date on our VETERANS,! THANK YOU

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