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Introduced Version House Bill 2442 History

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hb2442 intr
H. B. 2442


(By Delegates Amores, Doyle and Brown)


[Introduced February 16, 2005; referred to the

Committee on the Judiciary.]





A BILL to amend and reenact §61-6-21 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to prohibiting crimes against a person or his or her property because of a bias against that person; including disability and sexual orientation to list of persons protected pursuant to this section; includes actual or perceived in describing persons protected; altering elements of criminal acts; removing provisions relating to conspiracy; providing criminal penalties; and providing that free speech and expression of religious beliefs are not subject to the provisions of this section.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §61-6-21 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

ARTICLE 6. CRIMES AGAINST THE PEACE.

§61-6-21. Prohibiting violations of an individual's civil rights; penalties.

(a) All persons within the boundaries of the state of West Virginia have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence committed against their persons or property because of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or sex or sexual orientation.
(b) If any person does by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate or interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate or interfere with, or oppress or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the constitution or laws of the state of West Virginia or by the constitution or laws of the United States, because of such other person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or sex or sexual orientation, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(c) For the purposes of this section:
(1) "Disability" means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
(2) "Sexual orientation" means an enduring sexual or affectional attraction to persons of a particular gender, and includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, by inclination or practice.
(d) If any person, because of the other person's actual, or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin,
political affiliation, disability, sex or sexual orientation, by force or threat of force willfully:
(1) Injures;
(2) Intimidates or interferes; or
(3) Attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere, with any other person while in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the constitution or laws of the state of West Virginia or by the constitution or laws of the United States, he or she is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both fined and imprisoned.
(c) If any person conspires with another person or persons to willfully injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate or interfere with any citizen because of such other person's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, or sex in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the constitution or laws of the state of West Virginia or by the constitution or laws of the United States, and in willfull furtherance thereof to assemble with one or more persons for the purpose of teaching any technique or means capable of causing property damage, bodily injury or death, when such person or persons intend to employ such techniques or means to violate this section, each such person shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(d) (e) The fact that a person committed a felony or misdemeanor, or attempted to commit a felony, because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or sex or sexual orientation shall be considered a circumstance in aggravation of any crime in imposing sentence.
(e) (f) Nothing contained in this section makes unlawful the teaching of any technique in self defense.
(f) (g) Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to make it unlawful nor to prohibit, nor in any manner, to impede or to interfere with any person in conducting labor union or labor union organizing activities.
(h) No provision of this section may be construed to limit a person's federal and state constitutional right of free speech and the right to express his or her religious opinions or beliefs.




NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to include sexual orientation and disability as a bias-based crime civil rights violation for purposes of criminal responsibility; and further removes unnecessary conspiracy provisions; and clarifies that the provisions of this section are not intended to limit free speech or religious expression.

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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