SB29 SUB2 Senate Bill 29 History

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Senate Bill No. 29

(By Senator Fanning)


[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;

reported March 24, 2005.]


A BILL to amend and reenact §20-7-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to law-enforcement powers and duties of conservation officers; procuring and executing arrest and search warrants on certain lands and waters; empowering conservation officers to stop and board vessels to conduct safety checks to ensure vessels are properly equipped and licensed; and making technical corrections.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §20-7-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§20-7-4. Powers and duties of conservation officers.

Conservation officers and all other persons authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter shall be are under the supervision and direction of the director in the performance of their duties as herein provided. The authority, powers and duties of the conservation officers shall be Conservation officers have statewide jurisdiction and they shall have authority to:
(1) Arrest on sight, without warrant or other court process, any person or persons committing a criminal offense in violation of any of the laws of this state, in the presence of such the officer, but no such arrest shall may be made where any form of administrative procedure is prescribed by this chapter for the enforcement of any of the particular the provisions contained herein of this chapter;
(2) Carry such arms and weapons as may be prescribed by the director in the course and performance of their duties, but no license or other authorization shall be required of such officers for this privilege;
(3) Search and examine, in the manner provided by law, any boat, vehicle, automobile, conveyance, express or railroad car, fish box, fish bucket or creel, game bag or game coat or any other place in which hunting and fishing paraphernalia, wild animals, wild birds, fish, amphibians or other forms of aquatic life could be concealed, packed or conveyed whenever they have reason to believe that they would thereby secure or discover evidence of the violation of any the provisions of this chapter;
(4) Execute and serve any a search warrant, notice or any other process of law issued under the authority of this chapter or any other law relating to wildlife, forests, and all other natural resources, by a magistrate or any court having jurisdiction thereof, in the same manner, with the same authority and with the same legal effect as any a sheriff can serve or execute such warrant, notice or process;
(5) Require the operator of any motor vehicle or other conveyance on or about the public highways or roadways, or in or near the fields and streams of this state, to stop for the purpose of allowing such the conservation officers to conduct game-kill surveys;
(6) Summon aid in making arrests or seizures or in executing any warrants, notices or processes, and they shall have in the same rights and powers manner as sheriffs have in their respective counties in so doing;
(7) Enter private lands or waters within the state while engaged in the performance of their official duties hereunder;
(8) Arrest on sight, without warrant or other court process, subject to the limitations set forth in subdivision (1) of this section, any person or persons committing a criminal offense in violation of any law of this state in the presence of any such the officer on any state-owned lands and waters and lands and waters under lease by the division of natural resources and all national forest lands, waters and parks and U. S. Corps of Army Engineers' properties within the boundaries of the State of West Virginia and, in addition to any the authority conferred in the other subdivisions of this section, execute all arrest warrants of arrest on such these state and national lands, waters and parks and U. S. Corps of Army Engineers' properties, consistent with the provisions of article one, chapter sixty-two of this code;
(9) Arrest any person who enters upon the land or premises of another without written permission from the owner of the land or premises in order to cut, damage or carry away, or cause to be cut, damaged or carried away, any timber, trees, logs, posts, fruit, nuts, growing plants or products of any growing plant. Any person convicted of the foregoing cutting, damaging or carrying away or causing to be cut, damaged or carried away any timber, trees, logs, posts, fruits, nuts, growing plants or products of growing plants shall be is liable to the owner in the amount of three times the value of the timber, trees, logs, posts, fruit, nuts, growing plants or products of any growing plant, which shall be in addition to and notwithstanding any other penalties by law provided by section thirteen, article three, chapter sixty-one of this code; and
(10) Make a complaint in writing before any court or officer having jurisdiction, and procure and execute the warrant, when the officer knows or has reason to believe that a person has violated a law of this state. The actions of the conservation officer have the same force and effect as if made by a sheriff;
(11) Serve and execute warrants for the arrest of any person and warrants for the search of any premises, buildings, properties or conveyances issued by a properly constituted authority in the same manner,
with the same authority, and with the same legal effect, as a sheriff;
(12) Stop any vessel subject to this chapter for the purpose of conducting a safety check to ensure the vessel is properly equipped with required safety devises and is properly licensed, but may only board the vessel subject to the ordinary requirement of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or consent of the operator or owner of the vessel
; and
(10) (13) Do all things necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this chapter.

(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize safety checks of boats by conservation officers.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.)

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