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Introduced Version House Bill 2494 History

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hb2494 intr
H. B. 2494


(By Delegates Swartzmiller, Ennis, Stemple,

Williams and Proudfoot)

[Introduced February 18, 2005; referred to the

Committee on the Judiciary.]




A BILL to amend and reenact §7-14-15 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to prohibiting deputy sheriffs from engaging in political activities.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §7-14-15 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 14. CIVIL SERVICE FOR DEPUTY SHERIFFS.
§7-14-15. Political activity of deputy sheriffs prohibited; petition for vacating appointment; action on petition; appeal.

(a) On and after the effective date of this article, no deputy sheriff covered by the provisions of this article shall engage in any political activity of any kind, character or nature whatsoever, while in uniform, except to cast his or her vote at any election. After voting he or she shall forthwith retire from the voting precinct. No deputy sheriff or shall act as an election official in any municipal, county or state election. Any deputy sheriff violating the provisions of this section shall have his or her appointment vacated and he or she shall be removed, in accordance with the pertinent provisions of this section.
(b) While out of uniform and off duty, no deputy sheriff may participate in any political activity except:
(1) Campaign for and hold office in political clubs and organizations;

(2) Actively campaign for candidates for public office in partisan and nonpartisan elections; and

(3) Contribute money to political organizations and attend political fund-raising functions.
(c) No deputy sheriff may at any time:
(1) Be a candidate for public office in a nonpartisan or partisan election;
(2) Use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination; or
(3) Directly or indirectly coerce contributions from subordinates in support of a political party or candidate.
(b) (d) Any three residents of the county may file their written petition with the Civil Service Commission thereof setting out therein the grounds upon which a deputy sheriff of such county should be removed for a violation of subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section. Notice of the filing of such petition shall be given by the Commission to the accused deputy, which notice shall require him or her to file a written answer to the charges set out in the petition within thirty days of the date of such notice. The petition and answer thereto, if any, shall be entered upon the records of the Civil Service Commission. If the answer is not filed within the time stated, or any extension thereof for cause which in the discretion of the Civil Service Commission may be granted, an order shall be entered by the Commission declaring the appointment of the deputy vacated. If such answer is filed within the time stated, or any extension thereof for cause which, in the discretion of the Civil Service Commission, may be granted, the accused deputy may demand within such period a public hearing on the charges, or the Civil Service Commission may, in its discretion and without demand therefor, set a date and time for a public hearing on the charges, which hearing shall be within thirty days of the filing of said answer, subject, however, to any continuances which may in the discretion of the Civil Service Commission be granted. A written record of all testimony taken at such hearing shall be kept and preserved by the Civil Service Commission, which record shall be sealed and not be open to public inspection if no appeal be taken from the action of the Commission. The Commission at the conclusion of the hearing, or as soon thereafter as possible, shall enter an order sustaining in whole or in part the charges made, or shall dismiss the charges as unfounded. In the event the charges are sustained, in whole or in part, the order shall also declare the appointment of such deputy to be vacated and thereupon the sheriff shall immediately remove the deputy from his or her office and from the payroll of the county. Notice of the action of the Commission shall be given by registered letter to the county court and the sheriff. If the sheriff fails to immediately comply with the order of the Commission, he or she shall be punished for contempt, upon application of the Commission to the circuit court of the county.
(c) (e) An appeal from the ruling of the Commission may be had in the same manner and within the same time as specified in section seventeen of this article for an appeal from a ruling of a Commission after hearing held in accordance with the provisions of said section seventeen.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit deputy sheriffs from engaging in political activities.

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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