Introduced Version House Bill 4465 History

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

H. B. 4465


         (By Delegates Hamilton, Anderson, Armstead,

           Arvon, Border, Canterbury, Cooper, Cowles,

                    Miller, Romine and Westfall)

         [Introduced February 11, 2014; referred to the

         Committee on the Judiciary.]



A BILL to amend and reenact §6-5-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to the disqualification of persons convicted of treason, felony, or bribery from holding public office.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §6-5-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:


§6-5-5. Disqualification by conviction of treason, felony, or bribery.

    (a) The Legislature finds that the holding of an elective office is a public trust and that the integrity and honesty of those elected to serve the citizens of West Virginia in an elective office at all levels is a paramount concern and is essential for the maintenance of the confidence of our citizens in the operation of an effective representative government. The State of West Virginia has a compelling interest in advancing and maintaining confidence in the integrity and honesty of those holding elective office and ensuring that the electoral process of the state promotes this goal.

    (1) Section 1, Article IV of the Constitution of West Virginia clearly reflects the intent of the framers to ensure that those who demonstrate a total disregard for the laws of our state by treasonous or felonious conduct or bribery during an election forfeit their rights to participate as a voter in the electoral process.

    (2) The interest of the State of West Virginia in ensuring that those convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery in an election are not elevated to positions of trust and confidence as elected officials is even more crucial and compelling than the interest of the state in ensuring that those who engage in that conduct not be permitted to vote.

    (b) In order to advance the compelling state interest of promoting and strengthening the faith and confidence of the people of this state in their elected officials by preventing those who have demonstrated an utter disregard for the law from seeking and obtaining positions of trust as elected officials, no person convicted of treason, felony, or bribery in any election, before any court in or out of this state, shall, while such unless the conviction remains unreversed, has been either overturned, or the person has been pardoned of the offense, is eligible to be elected or appointed to any office under the laws of this state. and, if any When a person, while holding such an elective or appointed office, be so is convicted of treason, felony, or bribery in any election, before any court in or out of this state, the person is no longer eligible to hold the office and the office shall be thereby vacated becomes automatically vacant.


    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to insure that persons convicted of felony, treason, and bribery in an election are not allowed to run for or hold any elective office or appointive office.

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

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