Senate Bill No. 420
(By Senators Wills, Foster, Browning, Miller and Beach)
[Introduced February 4, 2011; referred to the Committee on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §7-1-1b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to eligibility of county commissioners; and clarifying residency requirement.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §7-1-1b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. COUNTY COMMISSIONS GENERALLY.
§7-1-1b. Legislative findings; qualifications for county commissioners.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) There is confusion concerning when a candidate for county commission must be a resident of the magisterial district he or she wants to represent;
(2) The Supreme Court has discussed the residency requirement in several cases and has conflicting interpretations;
(3) It is imperative that this issue be permanently resolved at the time of filing to ensure the citizens have choice on the ballot;
(4) It is essential the citizens know they are voting for a person who is qualified to be a candidate; and
(5) With the expense of holding an election, tax payer moneys should not be wasted of officials who could never serve.
(b) A candidate for the office of county commissioner shall be a resident from the magisterial district for which he or she is seeking election:
(1) By the last day to file a certificate of announcement pursuant to section seven, article five, chapter three of this code; or
(2) At the time of his or her appointment by the county executive committee or the chairperson of the county executive committee.
(c) No person may be a county commissioner who is not a resident within the magisterial district from which he or she is elected. If any candidate for the office of county commissioner no longer resides in the magisterial district for which he or she is seeking election, after satisfying the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, he or she is immediately ineligible for election and shall be removed from the ballot. If a county commissioner no longer resides in the magisterial district for which he or she was elected or appointed to represent, his or her seat is immediately vacated.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to clarify that county commissioners must continue to reside in the district they are elected or appointed to represent throughout the entire time they hold the office.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.