Senate Bill No. 51

(By Senators Manchin and Craigo)


[Introduced January 15, 1996; referred to the Committee
on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on Finance.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section three, article one-a, chapter
twenty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to natural resources; real estate management and procedures; public land corporation, powers and duties; and gifts of cabins in state parks or forests.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section three, article one-a, chapter twenty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§20-1A-3. Public land corporation, powers and duties.
The corporation is hereby authorized and empowered to:
(1) Acquire from any persons or the state auditor or any local, state or federal agency, by purchase, lease or other agreement, any lands necessary and required for public use;
(2) Acquire by purchase, condemnation, lease or agreement, receive by gifts and devises, or exchange, rights-of-way, easements, waters and minerals suitable for public use;
(3) Sell or exchange public lands where it is determined that the sale or exchange of such tract meets any or all of the following disposal criteria:
(A) Such tract was acquired for a specific purpose and the tract is no longer required for that or any other state purpose; or
(B) Disposal of such tract serves important public objectives including, but not limited to, expansion of communities and economic development which cannot be achieved on lands other than public lands and which clearly outweigh other public objectives and values including, but not limited to, recreation and scenic values which would be served by maintaining such tract in state ownership; or
(C) Such tract, because of its location or other characteristics, is difficult and uneconomic to manage as part of the public lands and is not suitable for management by another state department or agency.
There is hereby created in the state treasury a special public land corporation fund into which shall be paid all proceeds from public land sales and exchanges. The corporation may acquire public lands from use of the payments made to the fund, along with any interest accruing to said fund. The corporation shall report annually, just prior to the beginning of the regular session of the Legislature, to the finance committees of the Legislature on the financial condition of the special fund.
(4) Sell, purchase or exchange lands or stumpage for the purpose of consolidating lands under state or federal government administration subject to the disposal criteria specified in subdivision three (3) of this section;
(5) Negotiate and effect loans or grants from the government of the United States or any agency thereof for acquisition and development of such lands as may be authorized by law to be acquired for public use;
(6) Expend the income from the use and development of public lands for the following purposes:
(A) Liquidate obligations incurred in the acquisition, development and administration of such lands, until all such obligations have been fully discharged;
(B) Purchase, develop, restore and preserve for public use, sites, structures, objects and documents of prehistoric, historical, archaeological, recreational, architectural and cultural significance to the state of West Virginia; and
(C) Obtain grants or matching moneys available from the government of the United States or any of its instrumentalities for prehistoric, historic, archaeological, recreational, architectural and cultural purposes; and
(D) Acquire by purchase, lease or agreement, receive by gifts and devises, or exchange, from any individual or other legal entity who owns a cabin in any state park or state forest a conditional transfer of the right to use that cabin: Provided, That any revenues realized from the rental or lease of the cabin shall be shared by the owner and the corporation for a period of twenty years, at which time the full title to the cabin shall vest in the corporation.
The corporation shall have the authority to designate lands to which it has title for development and administration for the public use including recreation, wildlife stock grazing, agricultural rehabilitation and homesteading or other conservation activities. The corporation shall have authority to enter into leases for the development and extraction of minerals, including sand and gravel, except as otherwise circumscribed herein. The corporation shall reserve title and ownership to the mineral rights in all cases. It shall convey, assign, or allot lands to the title or custody of proper departments or other agencies of state government for administration and control within the functions of such departments or other agencies as provided by law. The corporation shall make proper lands available for the purpose of cooperating with the government of the United States in the relief of unemployment and hardship or for any other public purpose. The corporation shall report annually to the Legislature on its public land holdings, its financial condition and its operations and shall make such recommendations to the Legislature as deemed proper concerning the acquisition, development, disposition and use of public lands. All state agencies, institutions and departments shall make an inventory of the public lands of the state as may be by law specifically allocated to and used by each and provide to the corporation a list of such public lands, including their current use, intended use or best use to which such land may be put: Provided, That the state department of highways need not provide such inventory of public lands allocated to and used by it. The inventory shall identify those parcels of land which have no present or foreseeable useful purpose to the state of West Virginia. The inventory shall be submitted to the corporation by the first day of August, one thousand nine hundred eighty-nine. The corporation shall compile such inventory of all public lands and report to the Legislature by no later than the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred ninety, on its public land holdings and the land holdings of the other agencies or departments of this state which are required to report their holdings to the corporation as set forth hereinabove, its financial condition and its operations.
During the continuance of the Blennerhassett historical park commission, the public land corporation and its members shall consult with and keep the said Blennerhassett historical park commission fully informed as to any official action to be taken or proposed to be taken pursuant to this act article regarding or affecting Blennerhassett Island and its prehistoric, historic, archaeological, architectural, cultural and recreational significance or development or any of the powers and duties of the Blennerhassett historical park commission.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit the Public Land Corporation to acquire privately owned cabins at state parks or state forests after sharing revenue with the owners for a period of twenty years.

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