Senate Bill No. 142

(By Senators Bailey, Mitchell and Hunter)


[Introduced January 19, 2000; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section one, article two, chapter fifty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to conferring on magistrates the authority to perform marriages; and allowing magistrates to charge up to fifty dollars for performing a marriage.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section one, article two, chapter fifty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§50-2-1. Civil jurisdiction.

Except as limited herein and in addition to jurisdiction granted elsewhere to magistrate courts, such courts shall have jurisdiction of all civil actions wherein the value or amount in controversy or the value of property sought, exclusive of interest and cost, is not more than five thousand dollars. Magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of all matters involving unlawful entry or detainer of real property or involving wrongful occupation of residential rental property, so long as the title to such property is not in dispute. Except as the same may be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-five of this code, regarding unlawful entry and detainer, shall apply to such actions in magistrate court. Magistrate courts shall have jurisdiction of actions on bonds given pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Magistrate courts shall have continuing jurisdiction to entertain motions in regard to post-judgment process issued from magistrate court and decisions thereon may be appealed in the same manner as judgments.
Individual magistrates may perform marriages upon request by persons entitled, by virtue of meeting all lawful requirements, to be married: Provided, That a magistrate performing a marriage under this provision may charge a fee up to fifty dollars to perform the marriage, such fee to be included as additional remuneration to the magistrate's annual salary.
Magistrate courts shall not have jurisdiction of actions in equity, of matters in eminent domain, of matters in which the title to real estate is in issue, of proceedings seeking satisfaction of liens through the sale of real estate, of actions for false imprisonment, of actions for malicious prosecution or of actions for slander or libel or of any of the extraordinary remedies set forth in chapter fifty-three of this code.
Magistrates, magistrate court clerks, magistrate court deputy clerks, and magistrate assistants shall have the authority to administer any oath or affirmation, to take any affidavit or deposition, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, and to take, under such regulations as are prescribed by law, the acknowledgment of deeds and other writings.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to confer authority on magistrates to perform marriages. The bill would allow magistrates to charge up to $50 to perform a marriage, a sum that would be collected by the magistrate in addition to his or her regular salary.

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