Introduced Version Senate Bill 227 History

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SB227 intr
Senate Bill No. 227

(By Senator Foster)


[Introduced January 15, 2010; referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]


A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-26-1, §47-26-2, §47-26-3, §47-26-4, §47-26-5 and §47-26-6, all relating to creating the Protect Children from Dangerous Lighters Act; prohibiting the sale of novelty lighters; making exceptions; making legislative findings; providing a definition; providing a civil penalty; and requiring the destruction of seized novelty lighters.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-26-1, §47-26-2, §47-26-3, §47-26-4, §47-26-5 and §47-26-6, all to read as follows:
§47-26-1. Short title.

The article may be cited as the "Protect Children from Dangerous Lighters Act."
§47-26-2. Legislative findings.
The Legislature finds and declares that: (1) Lighters are inherently dangerous products containing flammable fuel; (2) if lighters are used incorrectly or used by children, dangerous and damaging consequences may result; (3) novelty lighters are easily mistaken by children and adults as children's toys or as common household items; and (4) novelty lighters have been the cause of many personal injuries to children and adults and property damage throughout the state.
§47-26-3. Definition.
"Novelty lighter" means a mechanical or electrical device typically used for the igniting or lighting of cigarettes, cigars or pipes that has a toylike appearance, has entertaining audio or visual effects, or resembles in any way in form or function an item that is commonly recognized as appealing, attractive or intended for use by young children, particularly those ten years of age or younger, including such a device that takes toylike physical forms, including but not limited to toy animals, cartoon characters, cars, boats, airplanes, common household items, weapons, cell phones, batteries, food, beverages, musical instruments and watches or has flashing lights or other entertaining features. Novelty lighters may operate on any fuel, including butane or liquid fuel.
§47-26-4. Exceptions.
This article does not apply to:
(1) Novelty lighters that were made before January 1, 1980;
(2) Novelty lighters that are considered to be collectable;
(3) Any mechanical or electrical device primarily used to ignite fuel for fireplaces or for charcoal or gas grills;
(4) Lighters incapable of being fueled or lacking a device necessary to produce combustion or flame;
(5) The active transportation of novelty lighters through the state;
(6) The storage of novelty lighters in a warehouse or distribution center that is closed to the public for purposes of retail sales;
(7) Wholesale or retail dealers selling their existing inventory of novelty lighters before July 1, 2010, where such inventory was purchased prior to April 1, 2010; and
(8) Novelty lighters that are in compliance with 16 CFR Part 1210.
§47-26-5. Sale of novelty lighters prohibited.
The sale, retail sale, offer of retail sale, gift or distribution of any novelty lighter is prohibited.
§47-26-6. Authority of fire marshal.
(a) The State Fire Marshal may promulgate rules, pursuant to article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article.
(b) The fire marshal, or an authorized representative, upon oral or written demand, may inspect the inventory of novelty lighter manufacturers, wholesale or retail dealers, and transporters as the fire marshal or the authorized representative deems necessary to ensure compliance with this article.
© Whenever the fire marshal or an authorized representative, law enforcement personnel, or any authorized personnel discover novelty lighters for sale, retail sale or offered for retail sale, gift or distribution, such personnel are authorized and empowered to seize and take possession of such lighters. The confiscated lighters will be turned over to the fire marshal and will be forfeited to the state as contraband. Novelty lighters seized pursuant to this article will be destroyed. Destruction will be witnessed by at least two employees of the fire marshal and documentation of such destruction will be made which describes the contraband, time and location of the destruction, witnesses to the destruction and such other information as required by the fire marshal.
(d) Any person who knowingly violates this article shall be fined not more than $250 per violation.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish the "Protect Children from Dangerous Lighters Act." The bill prohibits the sale of novelty lighters and provides for exceptions. The bill also makes legislative findings and provides a definition. Further, the bill provides a civil penalty and requires the destruction seized novelty lighters.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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