West Virginia Code
This article shall be known as the "White Cane Law."
It is the policy of this state to encourage and enable persons who are blind or otherwise visually impaired or who have a disability to participate fully in the social and economic life of the state and to engage in remunerative employment.
For the purpose of this article:
(a) A "person who is blind" means a person whose central visual acuity does not exceed twenty/two hundred in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose visual acuity is greater than twenty/two hundred but is occasioned by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than twenty degrees.
(b) A "person with a disability" means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual; who has a record of such an impairment or who is regarded as having such an impairment.
(c) A "service animal" means any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.
(a) A person who is blind or is a person with a disability shall have the same rights as other persons to the full and free use of the highways, roads, streets, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities and other public places.
(b) Any person who is blind and any person with a disability is entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, streetcars, boats or any other public conveyances or modes of transportation, hotels, lodging places, restaurants, professional offices for health or legal services, hospitals, other places of public accommodation, amusement or resort, and other places, including places of employment, to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.
(c) Every person who is blind, every person with a hearing impairment and every person with a disability shall have the right to be accompanied by a service animal in any of the places, accommodations or conveyances specified in subsection (b) of this section without being required to pay an extra charge for the admission of the service animal. The person who is blind, deaf or has a disability shall be liable for any damage done by the service animal to the premises or facilities or to persons using such premises or facilities: Provided, That the person who is blind, deaf or has a disability shall not be liable for any damage done by the service animal to any person or the property of a person who has contributed to or caused the service animal's behavior by inciting or provoking such behavior. A service animal shall not occupy a seat in any public conveyance and shall be upon a leash while using the facilities of a common carrier.
(d) The rights, privileges and responsibilities provided by this section also apply to any person who is certified as a trainer of a service animal while he or she is engaged in the training.
(e) A service animal as defined by section three of this article is not required to be licensed or certified by a state or local government, nor shall there be any requirement for the specific signage or labeling of a service animal.
(a) A person who is blind or who has a disability shall exercise that degree of care for his or her own safety in any of the places, accommodations or conveyances specified in section four of this article which an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances.
(b) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian who is blind or who has a disability and who knows, or in the exercise of reasonable care should know, that the pedestrian is blind because the pedestrian is carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip, or is using a service animal or otherwise, shall exercise care commensurate with the situation to avoid injuring the pedestrian or the service animal.
Each year the Governor shall take suitable public notice of October 15, as white cane day. The Governor shall issue a proclamation that:
(a) Comments upon the significance of the white cane;
(b) Calls upon the citizens of the state to observe the provisions of the white cane law and to take precautions necessary for the safety of persons who are blind;
(c) Reminds the citizens of the state of the policies with respect to persons who are blind herein declared and urges the citizens to cooperate in giving effect to them;
(d) Emphasizes the need of the citizens to be aware of the presence of persons who are blind or visually impaired in the community and to keep safe for persons who are blind or visually impaired the highways, roads, streets, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, other public places, places of public accommodation, amusement and resort and other places to which the public is invited, and to offer assistance to persons who are blind upon appropriate occasions.
It is the policy of this state that persons who are blind or visually impaired and persons with disabilities shall be employed in the state service, the service of the political subdivisions of the state, in the public schools and in all other employment supported, in whole or in part, by public funds on the same terms and conditions as any other person, unless it is shown that the blindness or disability prevents the performance of the work involved.
Any person, firm or corporation, or the agent of any person, firm or corporation, who denies or interferes with admittance to or enjoyment of the places, accommodations or conveyances specified in section four of this article or otherwise interferes with the rights of a person who is blind or visually impaired or a person with a disability under the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined an amount not to exceed $50.
(a) Any person who falsely represents to another that he or she is a person who is blind or a person with a disability with the intent to obtain any right or privilege protected by the provisions of §5-15-4 of this code is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than $200 or confined in jail for not more than 10 days, or both fined and confined.
(b) Any person who falsely represents that an animal is a service animal in order to obtain any right or privilege protected by the provisions of §5-15-4 of this code is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than $200 or confined in jail for not more than 10 days, or both fined and confined.
(c) Notwithstanding the penalty provisions of §5-15-9(a) or §5-15-9(b) of this code, any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of §5-15-9(a) or §5-15-9(b) of this code shall be fined not more than $1,000 or confined in jail for not more than 30 days, or both fined and confined.
(d) A right or privilege protected by the provisions of §5-15-4 of this code includes but is not limited to use of a service animal for assistance purposes.