West Virginia Code
This article shall be known as the "Emergency Interim Legislative Succession Act."
The Legislature declares: (1) That recent technological developments make possible an enemy attack of unprecedented destructiveness, which may result in the death of inability to act of a large proportion of the membership of the Legislature; (2) that to conform in time of attack to existing legal requirements pertaining to the Legislature would be impracticable, would admit of undue delay, and would jeopardize continuity of operation of a legally constituted Legislature; and (3) that it is therefore necessary to adopt special provisions as hereinafter set out for the effective operation of the Legislature.
As used in this article:
(a) "Attack" means any action or series of actions taken by an enemy of the United States resulting in substantial damage or injury to persons or property in this state whether through sabotage, bombs, missiles, shellfire, or atomic, radiological, chemical, bacteriological, or biological means or other weapons or methods.
(b) "Unavailable" means absent from the place of session (other than on official business of the Legislature), or unable, for physical, mental or legal reasons, to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of a legislator, whether or not such absence or inability would give rise to a vacancy under existing Constitutional or statutory provisions.
Each legislator shall designate not fewer than three nor more than seven emergency interim successors to his powers and duties and specify their order of succession. Each legislator shall review and, as necessary, promptly revise the designations of emergency interim successors to his powers and duties to insure that at all times there are at least three such qualified emergency interim successors.
An emergency interim successor is one who is designated for possible temporary succession to the powers and duties, but not the office, of a legislator. No person shall be designated or serve as an emergency interim successor unless he may under the Constitution and statutes hold the office of the legislator to whose powers and duties he is designated to succeed, but no Constitutional or statutory provision prohibiting a legislator from holding another office or prohibiting the holder of another office from being a legislator shall be applicable to an emergency interim successor. An emergency interim successor shall serve at the pleasure of the legislator designating him or of any subsequent incumbent of the legislative office.
Prior to an attack, if a legislator fails to designate the required minimum number of emergency interim successors within thirty days following the effective date of this article or, after such period, if for any reason the number of emergency interim successors for any legislator falls below the required minimum and remains below such minimum for a period of thirty days, then the floor leader of the same political party in the same house as such legislator shall promptly designate as many emergency interim successors as are required to achieve such minimum number, but the emergency interim successors so designated shall not have a rank in order of succession higher than that of any remaining emergency interim successor previously designated by a legislator for succession to his own powers and duties. Each emergency interim successor designated by the respective floor leaders shall serve at the pleasure of the person designating him but the legislator for whom the emergency interim successor is designated or any subsequent incumbent of his office may change the rank in order of succession or replace at his pleasure any emergency interim successor so designated.
Each designation of an emergency interim successor shall become effective when the legislator or floor leader authorized by section six of this article to make such designation files with the Secretary of State the successor's name, address and rank in order of succession. The removal of an emergency interim successor or change in order of succession shall become effective when the legislator or floor leader authorized by section six of this article to do so, files this information with the Secretary of State. All such data shall be open to public inspection. The Secretary of State shall inform the Governor, the director of the Office of Emergency Services, the clerk of the house concerned and all emergency interim successors of all such designations, removals and changes in order of succession. The clerk of each house shall enter all information regarding emergency interim successors for the house in its public journal at the beginning of each legislative session and shall enter all changes in membership or order of succession as soon as possible after their occurrence.
Promptly after designation each emergency interim successor shall take the oath required for the legislator to whose powers and duties he is designated to succeed. No other oath shall be required.
Each emergency interim successor shall keep himself generally informed as to the duties, procedures, practices and current business of the Legislature, and each legislator shall assist his emergency interim successors to keep themselves so informed.
Whenever in the event of an attack, or upon findings that an attack may be imminent, the Governor deems the place of session then prescribed to be unsafe, he may change it to any place within or without the state which he deems safer and convenient.
If in the event of an attack a legislator is unavailable, his emergency interim successor highest in order of succession who is not unavailable shall, except for the power and duty to appoint emergency interim successors, exercise the powers and assume the duties of such legislator. An emergency interim successor shall exercise these powers and assume these duties until the incumbent legislator, and emergency interim successor higher in order of succession, or a legislator appointed or elected and legally qualified can act. Each house of the Legislature shall, in accordance with its own rules, determine who is entitled under the provisions of this article to exercise the powers and assume the duties of its members. All Constitutional and statutory provisions pertaining to ouster of a legislator shall be applicable to an emergency interim successor who is exercising the powers and assuming the duties of a legislator.
When an emergency interim successor exercises the powers and assumes the duties of a legislator, he shall be accorded the privileges and immunities, compensation, allowances and other perquisites of office to which a legislator is entitled. In the event of an attack, each emergency interim successor, whether or not called upon to exercise the powers and assume the duties of a legislator, shall be accorded the privileges and immunities of a legislator while traveling to and from a place of session and shall be compensated for his travel in the same manner and amount as a legislator. This section shall not in any way affect the privileges, immunities, compensation, allowances or other perquisites of office of an incumbent legislator.
The various provisions of this article shall be construed as separable and severable, and should any of the provisions or parts thereof be construed or held unconstitutional or for any reason be invalid, the remaining provisions of this article shall not be thereby affected.