Introduced Version Senate Bill 310 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

WEST virginia legislature

2016 regular session


Senate Bill 310

By Senator Trump

[Introduced January 15, 2016;
Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

A BILL to amend and reenact §29B-1-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to exempting from disclosure by state officials certain personal information relating to active and retired law-enforcement officers, judges, prosecuting attorneys, members of the Legislature and elected officials, and their spouses and children, as protection against false claims and suits brought by members of Sovereign Citizens.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §29B-1-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:


§29B-1-4.  Exemptions.

(a) There is a presumption of public accessibility to all public records, subject only to the following categories of information which are specifically exempt from disclosure under the provisions of this article:

(1) Trade secrets, as used in this section, which may include, but are not limited to, any formula, plan pattern, process, tool, mechanism, compound, procedure, production data or compilation of information which is not patented which is known only to certain individuals within a commercial concern who are using it to fabricate, produce or compound an article or trade or a service or to locate minerals or other substances, having commercial value, and which gives its users an opportunity to obtain business advantage over competitors;

(2) Information of a personal nature such as that kept in a personal, medical or similar file, if the public disclosure of the information would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy, unless the public interest by clear and convincing evidence requires disclosure in this particular instance:  Provided, That this article does not preclude an individual from inspecting or copying his or her own personal, medical or similar file;

(3) Test questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer a licensing examination, examination for employment or academic examination;

(4) Records of law-enforcement agencies that deal with the detection and investigation of crime and the internal records and notations of such law-enforcement agencies which are maintained for internal use in matters relating to law enforcement;

(5) Information specifically exempted from disclosure by statute;

(6) Records, archives, documents or manuscripts describing the location of undeveloped historic, prehistoric, archaeological, paleontological and battlefield sites or constituting gifts to any public body upon which the donor has attached restrictions on usage or the handling of which could irreparably damage the record, archive, document or manuscript;

(7) Information contained in or related to examination, operating or condition reports prepared by, or on behalf of, or for the use of any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions, except those reports which are by law required to be published in newspapers;

(8) Internal memoranda or letters received or prepared by any public body.

(9) Records assembled, prepared or maintained to prevent, mitigate or respond to terrorist acts or the threat of terrorist acts, the public disclosure of which threaten the public safety or the public health;

(10) Those portions of records containing specific or unique vulnerability assessments or specific or unique response plans, data, databases and inventories of goods or materials collected or assembled to respond to terrorist acts; and communication codes or deployment plans of law-enforcement or emergency response personnel;

(11) Specific intelligence information and specific investigative records dealing with terrorist acts or the threat of a terrorist act shared by and between federal and international law-enforcement agencies, state and local law-enforcement and other agencies within the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety;

(12) National security records classified under federal executive order and not subject to public disclosure under federal law that are shared by federal agencies and other records related to national security briefings to assist state and local government with domestic preparedness for acts of terrorism;

(13) Computing, telecommunications and network security records, passwords, security codes or programs used to respond to or plan against acts of terrorism which may be the subject of a terrorist act;

(14) Security or disaster recovery plans, risk assessments, tests or the results of those tests;

(15) Architectural or infrastructure designs, maps or other records that show the location or layout of the facilities where computing, telecommunications or network infrastructure used to plan.

(16) Codes for facility security systems; or codes for secure applications for facilities referred to in subdivision (15) of this subsection;

(17) Specific engineering plans and descriptions of existing public utility plants and equipment;

(18) Customer proprietary network information of other telecommunications carriers, equipment manufacturers and individual customers, consistent with 47 U.S.C. §222; and

(19) Records of the Division of Corrections, Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority and the Division of Juvenile Services relating to design of corrections, jail and detention facilities owned or operated by the agency, and the policy directives and operational procedures of personnel relating to the safe and secure management of inmates or residents, that if released, could be used by an inmate or resident to escape a facility, or to cause injury to another inmate, resident or to facility personnel.

(20) Information related to applications under section four, article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code, including applications, supporting documents, permits, renewals, or any other information that would identify an applicant for or holder of a concealed weapon permit: Provided: That information in the aggregate that does not identify any permit holder other than by county or municipality is not exempted: Provided, however, That information or other records exempted under this subdivision may be disclosed to a law enforcement agency or officer: (i) to determine the validity of a permit, (ii) to assist in a criminal investigation or prosecution, or (iii) for other lawful law-enforcement purposes.

(21) The home addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers and photographs of active or former state or local law-enforcement personnel, including correctional and probation officers; personnel of the Department of Health and Human Resources whose duties include the investigation of abuse, neglect, exploitation, fraud, theft, or other criminal activities, or whose duties support those activities; justices of the State Supreme Court; state circuit court justices; magistrates; prosecuting attorneys; assistant prosecuting attorneys; members of the Legislature; Governor; Secretary of State; Auditor; Attorney General and Treasurer. 

(22) Home addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, photographs and places of employment of spouses and children of the persons identified in subdivision twenty-one of this subsection, and the names and locations of schools and day care facilities attended by the children of those identified in subdivision twenty-one of this section.

(b) An agency responsible for records protected from public disclosure in subdivisions twenty-one and twenty-two of subsection (a) of this section shall disclose to the public nonexempt, information regularly kept by the agency including but not limited to the names of individuals, the amount and nonidentifying description of property owned, and whether taxes are paid or delinquent.  To avoid inadvertent disclosure, the agency shall maintain computerized information in such a way as to alert users to information which is blocked from disclosure to the public. Personal information exempt from disclosure pursuant to subdivisions twenty-one and twenty-two may continue to be placed on physical items issued to persons such as drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration cards.

(b)(c) As used in subdivisions (9) through (16), inclusive, subsection (a) of this section, the term “terrorist act” means an act that is likely to result in serious bodily injury or damage to property or the environment and is intended to:

(1) Intimidate or coerce the civilian population;

(2) Influence the policy of a branch or level of government by intimidation or coercion;

(3) Affect the conduct of a branch or level of government by intimidation or coercion; or

(4) Retaliate against a branch or level of government for a policy or conduct of the government.

(c)(d) The provisions of subdivisions (9) through (16), inclusive, subsection (a) of this section do not make subject to the provisions of this chapter any evidence of an immediate threat to public health or safety unrelated to a terrorist act or the threat of a terrorist act which comes to the attention of a public entity in the course of conducting a vulnerability assessment response or similar activity.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to limit disclosure of certain public records to protect law enforcement officers and certain other persons from false liens and claims.

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


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