No person shall engage or continue in the business of outdoor advertising in this state without first obtaining a license for outdoor advertising from the commissioner; and no person shall construct, erect, operate, use, maintain, lease or sell any outdoor advertising sign, display or device in this state without first obtaining a license from the commissioner. The commissioner shall charge an annual license fee in the amount of $125, payable in advance, for licensees obtaining up to twenty permits. Licensees, including subsidiaries and affiliates, obtaining twenty-one or more permits shall pay an annual fee of $1,000, payable in advance. Applications for licenses, or renewal of licenses, shall be made on forms furnished by the commissioner and shall contain any pertinent information required by the commissioner and shall be accompanied by the annual fee. Licenses granted under this section expire on June 30 of each year and shall not be prorated. Applications for the renewal of licenses shall be made not less than thirty days prior to the date of expiration. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any person to obtain a license who constructs, erects, operates, uses or maintains an on-premise sign, display or device solely on his or her own property at the location of the advertised business and within limitations established in rules authorized by section eleven of this article and promulgated in accordance with state law. The Commissioner of Highways, in his or her discretion, may propose for promulgation an emergency rule as provided in article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code that clarifies, explains or implements limitations or restrictions on the construction, erection, operation, use and maintenance of outdoor advertising signs, displays and devices. With the prior written approval of the Commissioner of Highways, a county commission may enact and enforce outdoor advertising ordinances which place limitations or restrictions on outdoor advertising signs, displays or devices which are in addition to or more restrictive than the limitations or restrictions provided by the Commissioner of Highways in the emergency rule on this subject.
The commissioner may, after thirty days' notice in writing to the licensee, make and enter an order revoking any license granted by him or her upon repayment of a proportionate part of the license fee, in any case where he or she finds that any material information required to be given in the application for the license is knowingly false or misleading or that the licensee has violated any of the provisions of this article, unless the licensee, before the expiration of said thirty days, corrects the false or misleading information and complies with the provisions of this article. The order shall be accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law upon which the order was made and entered. Any person adversely affected by an order made and entered by the commissioner is entitled to judicial review of the order. The judicial review shall be in the circuit court for the county in which the owner of the sign has his or her principal place of business in this state, or in the circuit court of Kanawha County if all parties agree. The judgment of the circuit court is final unless reversed, vacated or modified on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Legal counsel and services for the commissioner in appeal proceedings in any circuit court and the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be provided by the Attorney General or his or her assistants, and in appeal proceedings in any circuit court by the prosecuting attorney of the county as well, all without additional compensation. The commissioner may employ special counsel to represent the commissioner in a particular proceeding.