Senate Bill No. 509
(By Senator Grubb)
[Introduced February 20, 1995; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section eight, article five, chapter
three of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended; to amend article eight of
said chapter by adding thereto three new sections,
designated sections one-a, two-a and eight-a; to amend and
reenact sections five-b and five-f of said article; and to
further amend said chapter by adding thereto a new article,
designated article eight-a, all relating to elections
generally; raising filing fees for candidates in some
instances; relating to the placement and removal of
political signs along public rights-of-way and providing
criminal penalties therefor; requiring financial reporting by inaugural committees; providing for the filing of sworn
financial statements by candidates; relating to recovery of
loans by political candidates and family members; limiting
contributions from political committees; memorials, flowers
and citations as lawful election expenses; and providing for
a code of fair campaign practices.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section eight, article five, chapter three of the code
of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted; that article eight of said
chapter be amended by adding thereto three new sections,
designated sections one-a, two-a and eight-a; that sections
five-b and five-f of said article be amended and reenacted; and
that said chapter be further amended by adding thereto a new
article, designated article eight-a, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5. PRIMARY ELECTIONS AND NOMINATING PROCEDURES.
§3-5-8. Filing fees and their disposition; penalties.
Every person who becomes a candidate for nomination for or
election to office in any primary election, shall, at the time of
filing the certificate of announcement as required in this
article, pay a filing fee as follows:
(a) A candidate for president of the United States, for
vice-president of the United States, for United States senator,
for member of the United States house of representatives, for
governor and for all other state elective officers shall pay a
fee equivalent to
one three percent of the annual salary of the
office for which the candidate announces: Provided, That in lieu
of the requirements of this subsection, a candidate for governor
and all other state elective officers may pay a fee equivalent to
one percent of the annual salary of the office for which the
candidate announces if such candidate signs the code of fair
campaign practices as provided in section three, article eight-a
of this chapter.
(b) A candidate for the office of judge of a circuit court
and judge of any court of record of limited jurisdiction shall
pay a fee equivalent to
one three percent of the total annual
salary of the office paid from any and all sources for which the
That in lieu of the requirements
of this subsection, a candidate for the office of judge of a
circuit court and judge of any court of record of limited
jurisdiction may pay a fee equivalent to one percent of the total
annual salary of the office paid from any and all sources for which the candidate announces if such candidate signs the code of
fair campaign practices as provided in section three, article
eight-a of this chapter.
(c) A candidate for member of the House of Delegates shall
pay a fee of
thirty three ninety-nine dollars, and a candidate
for state senator shall pay a fee of sixty six one hundred
ninety-four dollars: Provided, That in lieu of the requirements
of this subsection, a candidate for member of the House of
Delegates may pay a fee of thirty-three dollars, and a candidate
for state senator may pay a fee of sixty-six dollars if such
candidate signs the code of fair campaign practices as provided
in section three, article eight-a of this chapter.
(d) Any candidate for any office mentioned in subsections
(b) and (c) of this section who takes advantage of the relevant
lowered fee amounts set forth in such subsections, as a result of
the candidate having signed the code of fair campaign practices
as provided in section three, article eight-a of this chapter,
shall plainly indicate the fact that he or she has signed that
code in all of his or her campaign literature and in all of his
or her other campaign advertising.
(e) A candidate who signs the code of fair campaign practices as provided in section three, article eight-a of this
chapter and who subsequently pays the lower filing fee as
provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, but who
exceeds the campaign spending limits as provided in such code of
fair campaign practices shall pay a fine to the appropriate
filing officer of three times the amount by which the candidate
exceeds said limits.
(d) (f) A candidate for sheriff, prosecuting attorney,
circuit clerk, county clerk, assessor, member of the county court
commission and member of the county board of education shall pay
a fee equivalent to one percent of the annual salary of the
office for which the candidate announces: Provided, That the fee
in no case shall be less than five dollars. A candidate for any
other county office shall pay a fee of five dollars;
(e) (g) A candidate for justice of the peace magistrate in
districts having a population of five thousand or less shall pay
a fee of ten dollars; in districts having a population of more
than five thousand and not more than twenty-five thousand,
fifteen dollars; and in districts having more than twenty-five
thousand population, each candidate shall pay a fee of
(f) A candidate for constable in districts having a
population of five thousand or less shall pay a fee of five
dollars; in districts having a population of more than five
thousand and not more than twenty-five thousand, ten dollars; and
in all other districts fifteen dollars;
(g) (h) Delegates to the national convention of any
political party shall pay the following filing fees:
A candidate for delegate-at-large shall pay a fee of twenty
dollars; and a candidate for delegate from a congressional
district shall pay a fee of ten dollars;
(h) (i) Candidates for members of political executive
committees and other political committees shall pay the following
A candidate for member of a state executive committee of any
political party shall pay a fee of ten dollars; a candidate for
member of a county executive committee of any political party
shall pay a fee of one dollar; and a candidate for member of a
congressional, senatorial or delegate district committee of any
political party shall pay a fee of one dollar.
Candidates filing for an office to be filled by the voters
of one county shall pay the filing fee to the clerk of the circuit court, and candidates filing for an office to be filled
by the voters of more than one county shall pay the filing fee to
the secretary of state at the time of filing their certificates
of announcement, and no certificate of announcement shall be
received until the filing fee is paid.
All moneys received by such clerk from such fees shall be
credited to the general county fund. Moneys received by the
secretary of state from fees paid by candidates for offices to be
filled by all the voters of the state shall be deposited in a
special fund for that purpose and shall be apportioned and paid
by him to the several counties on the basis of population, and
that received from candidates from a district or judicial circuit
of more than one county shall be apportioned to the counties
comprising the district or judicial circuit in like manner. When
such moneys are received by sheriffs, it shall be credited to the
general county fund.
ARTICLE 8. REGULATION AND CONTROL OF ELECTIONS.
§3-8-1a. Regulation of political campaign signs on public
(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of section one, article
nineteen, chapter seventeen of this code or the provisions of any county or municipal ordinance prohibiting the placement of
political campaign signs on public rights-of-way, candidates for
public office in this state may, not earlier than thirty days
before any primary, general or special election, place political
campaign signs on public rights-of-way if:
(1) The signs are less than four square feet in surface area
attached to stakes driven into the ground or attached to other
mechanisms which allow the signs to stand alone and they are not
affixed to utility structures, guardrails, fences or other public
structures along the right-of-way;
(2) The sign or signs do not obscure any other public sign;
(3) The candidate notifies the right-of-way authority of an
intent to place political campaign signs on public rights-of-way;
(4) The candidate provides the right-of-way authority with
a copy or facsimile of the proposed sign or signs and the name of
the person responsible for removing the sign; and
(5) The candidate receives a permit from the right-of-way
authority to place the sign or signs at locations along the
(b) For the purpose of this section a right-of-way authority
is the county maintenance supervisor for the state highway department, the county commission or the governing body of a
(c) The right-of-way authority shall issue a permit to place
political campaign signs and may charge a five dollar
administrative fee for the permit. If the authority determines
that the placement of a sign at a specific location along the
right-of-way would conflict with federal law or statute, be
hazardous, interfere with traffic or normal commerce or obstruct,
to an appreciable degree, the view of any governmental,
historical or cultural building or edifice, then the authority
may remove the sign or signs. The authority shall notify the
candidate when signs are to be removed and shall allow thirty
days for the candidate to recover the signs that have been
removed by the authority, if any.
(d) All political campaign signs authorized to be placed on
public rights-of-way by the provisions of this section shall be
removed by the candidate within forty-eight hours after election
day. The candidate shall be assessed five dollars for each sign
that must be removed by the authority after forty-eight hours
(e) A candidate or anyone working on behalf of a candidate shall not attach a political campaign sign to the political
campaign sign of another candidate.
(f) No one, other than a candidate or a candidate's designee
may remove the candidate's campaign signs which have been
authorized to be placed along public rights-of-way by a
right-of-way authority unless removed in an emergency or by
mutual consent of the candidate and the authority, or according
to subsection (c) of this section.
(g) Any person who removes a sign or attaches another
political sign in violation of the provisions of this section is
guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be
fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than five hundred
dollars, and imprisoned in the county jail not less than
twenty-four hours nor more than one year, or both fined and
§3-8-2a. Reporting by inaugural committees.
(a) Each inaugural committee established for the purpose of
financing all or any part of an inaugural ceremony or activity
for any person elected to any office, other than any federal
office, or an activity or function open to the public to honor or
to provide a public forum for any person elected to public office shall file and keep records of receipts and expenditures which it
makes in support of inauguration activities. All such receipts
and expenditures are subject to regulation under the provisions
of this article. Verified financial statements of receipts and
expenditures shall be made and filed as public records in the
office of the secretary of state by all inaugural committees or
by their financial agents, representatives, or any person acting
for and on behalf of any inauguration activities: Provided, That
any such ceremony or activity that requires a total expenditure
of funds by an inaugural committee of one thousand dollars or any
lesser amount shall be exempt from the filing and recordkeeping
requirements of this section.
(b) For purposes of this section, "inaugural committee"
means one or more persons who receive contributions and make
expenditures in support of inauguration activities for any
candidate elected to any office, other than any federal office or
in support of an activity or function open to the public to honor
or to provide a public forum for any person elected to public
(c) All inaugural committees shall file verified financial
statements with the secretary of state, on forms as prescribed by the secretary of state, not more than thirty days after the date
of the inauguration of the elected official for whose
inauguration the inaugural committee was formed.
(d) Receipts and expenditures of state, federal or other
public funds for such ceremonies or activities are not subject to
the provisions of this section.
§3-8-5b. Where financial statements shall be filed.
The sworn financial statements provided for in sections five
and five-a shall be filed with the secretary of state by
candidates for state and other offices to be nominated or elected
by the voters of a political division greater than a county, and
with the clerk of the county commission by all other candidates
for offices to be nominated or elected.(a) Candidates for nomination or election by the voters to
state offices shall file the sworn financial statements provided
for in sections five and five-a of this article with the
secretary of state.
(b) Candidates for nomination or election by the voters to:
(i) Seats in either the state Senate or the House of Delegates;
and (ii) a seat on the bench of any judicial circuit shall file
the sworn financial statement provided for in sections five and five-a of this article with the secretary of state and the clerk
of the county commission in their county of residence.
(c) Candidates for nomination or election by the voters to
all other offices not expressly provided for in subsection (a) or
(b) of this section shall file the sworn financial statement
provided for in sections five and five-a of this article with the
clerk of the county commission in their county of residence.
§3-8-5f. Loans to candidates, organizations or persons for
election purposes; limitation on recovery of certain loans.
(a) Every candidate, financial agent, person or association
of persons or organization advocating or opposing the nomination
or election of any candidate or the passage or defeat of any
issue or item to be voted upon, who receives money or any other
thing of value as a loan toward election expenses shall execute,
in writing, an agreement with the individual, lending institution
or organization making the loan.
Such The agreement shall state
the date and amount of the loan, the terms, including interest
and repayment schedule, and a description of the collateral, if
any, and the full names and addresses of all parties to the
agreement. A copy of the agreement shall be filed with the
financial statement next required after the loan is executed.
(b)(1) For purposes of this chapter, a loan made to a
candidate or a candidate committee is considered a contribution
from the maker and the guarantor of the loan;
(2) The proceeds of a loan made to a candidate which meet
the requirements of this subdivision are not subject to
contribution limits if the loan is:
(A) By a commercial lending institution;
(B) Made in the regular course of business;
(C) Made on the same terms ordinarily available to members
of the public;
(D) One which is secured or guaranteed; and
(E) One which is not secured or guaranteed by a candidate or
candidate's immediate family, or by property or other items owned
by any such persons, in excess of the amounts allowed by
subsection (c) of this section, or by any individual in an amount
in excess of a lawful contribution by that individual to the
(c) The following limitations apply to the repayment of
loans made by a candidate or the candidate's immediate family:
(1) A candidate for governor, or a member of the candidate's
immediate family who has made a loan to the candidate's committee shall not recover more than fifty thousand dollars in the
aggregate for such loans outstanding after the election.
(2) A candidate for nonfederal state wide elective office
other than governor, or a member of the candidate's immediate
family who has made a loan to the candidate's committee shall not
recover more than twenty-five thousand dollars in the aggregate
for such loans outstanding after the election.
(3) A candidate for office other than those specified above,
or a member of the candidate's immediate family who has made a
loan to the candidate's committee shall not recover more than ten
thousand dollars in the aggregate for such loans outstanding
after the election.
(d) A campaign debt incurred on behalf of a candidate or
candidate committee shall be considered a loan to the candidate
or candidate committee subject to the repayment limitation of
this subsection if the credit was extended based upon the
personal reputation, standing in the community or wealth of the
candidate, of a member of the candidate's immediate family, or of
one or more of the members of the candidate's campaign committee.
The balance of debt shall be the responsibility of any
cosigner of the note. Any outstanding balance of a loan which is discharged shall be considered a contribution to the candidate.
§3-8-8a. Limitation on use of political committee contributions.
(a) No individual who is a candidate for state or local
office or the financial agent of a campaign committee acting on
behalf of such candidate may receive and accept more than fifty
percent of the dollar amounts set forth in this section from
political committees during any primary or general election
campaign as campaign contributions.
(b) For purposes of this section, the limitation set forth
in subsection (a) of this section shall apply to the following
total campaign contribution amounts for the offices listed:
Governor $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Constitutional Officers $ 100,000 $ 100,000
Supreme Court of Appeals $ 125,000 $ 125,000
State Senate $ 25,000 $ 25,000
House of Delegates $ 12,500 $ 12,500
Circuit Judge $ 40,000 $ 40,000
(c) For purposes of this section, "political committee"
(1) Any committee, club, association, or other group of persons which receives contributions for political candidates
aggregating in excess of one thousand dollars during a calendar
year or which makes expenditures aggregating in excess of one
thousand dollars during a calendar year; or
(2) Any separate segregated fund established under the
provisions of paragraph (C), subdivision (1), subsection (b),
section eight of this article.
(d) For purposes of this section, "political committee"
does not include:
(1) A candidate's own campaign committee; or
(2) Any state, county or local political party committee.
ARTICLE 8A. FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES.
§3-8A-1. Intent of Legislature.
The Legislature hereby declares that the purpose of this
article is to give every candidate for public office and every
chairperson or treasurer of a political committee in this state
the opportunity to subscribe voluntarily to the code of fair
It is the goal and intent of the Legislature that every
candidate and person responsible for the activities of a
political committee in this state follow the basic principles of decency, honesty and fair play. It is the further intent of the
Legislature that candidates for high office have the opportunity
to voluntarily limit campaign spending to the reasonable specific
amounts contained herein.
The purpose in creating the code of fair campaign practices
is to give voters guidelines in determining fair play and to
encourage candidates and others to discuss issues instead of
untruths or distortions.
As used in this article, unless otherwise specified:
(a) "Campaign advertising or communication" means a
communication authorized by a candidate or a candidate's
committee for the purpose of advocating the nomination, election
or defeat of a candidate;
(b) "Candidate for public office" means an individual who
has filed a precandidacy statement according to the provisions of
section five-e, article eight of this chapter, has qualified to
have his or her name listed on the ballot of any election, or who
has declared his or her intention to seek nomination or election
through a petition or write-in procedure for any state, regional,
county, municipal, or district office which is to be filled at an election;
(c) "Code" means the code of fair campaign practices; and
(d) "Political committee" shall include all those persons
and entities required to keep accounts and file financial
statements pursuant to the provisions of section five, article
eight of this chapter.
§3-8A-3. Code of fair campaign practices.
At the time an individual files his or her precandidacy
statement, certificate of announcement, nominating petition, and
other paper evidencing an intention to be a candidate for public
office, or when an individual files the statement of organization
of a political committee, the circuit clerk, county clerk, or
secretary of state receiving such filing shall give the
individual a copy of the code of fair campaign practices and of
the provisions of this article. The form shall state that
subscription to the code is voluntary.
The text of the code shall read as follows:
CODE OF FAIR CAMPAIGN PRACTICES
I SHALL CONDUCT this campaign openly and publicly,
discussing the issues as I see them, presenting positions and
policies with sincerity and frankness, and criticizing without fear or favor the record and policies of candidates or political
parties which merit such criticism.
I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT the use of character defamation,
whispering campaigns, libel, slander or scurrilous attacks on any
candidate or his or her personal family life.
I SHALL CONDEMN the use of campaign advertising or
communication of any sort which misrepresents, distorts, or
otherwise falsifies the facts regarding any candidate or issue
raised in my campaign.
I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any appeal to negative prejudice
based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical handicap,
physical health status or age.
I SHALL NOT USE OR PERMIT any dishonest or unethical
practice which tends to corrupt or undermine our American system
of free elections, or which hampers or prevents the full and free
expression of the will of the voters including acts intended to
hinder or prevent any eligible person from registering to vote,
or from voting, or which is intended to affect voting through the
buying of influence or votes.
I SHALL NOT COERCE election help or campaign contributions
for myself or my committee or for any other candidate or any ballot issue from my employees or from any person under my
authority, influence or control.
I SHALL IMMEDIATELY AND PUBLICLY REPUDIATE support on behalf
of or in opposition to any candidacy deriving from any individual
or group which resorts to the methods and tactics which I
condemn. I shall accept responsibility to take firm action
against any subordinate or associate who violates any provisions
of this code or the laws governing elections.
I PERSONALLY SUPPORT a limit on campaign expenditures that
when reasonable, sufficient and fairly applied, does not limit or
restrict the expression of ideas of the candidate or others on
behalf of the candidate, but instead challenges individuals to
engage in open dialogue on the issues rather than merely to
purchase the excessive repetition of images and slogans.
ACCORDINGLY, IF I AM A CANDIDATE for one of the offices
listed below, I will, in conjunction with the committee or
committees organized on my behalf, adhere to the following limit
on campaign spending specified for the office I seek:
Governor $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Constitutional Officers $ 100,000 $ 100,000
Supreme Court of Appeals $ 125,000 $ 125,000
State Senate $ 25,000 $ 25,000
House of Delegates $ 12,500 $ 12,500
Circuit Judge $ 40,000 $ 40,000
Expenditures which do not exceed the limits designated for
the primary election may not be added to the limits for the
I SHALL DEFEND AND UPHOLD the right of every qualified voter
to full and equal participation in the electoral process.
AS A PUBLIC OFFICIAL, I PLEDGE to conduct my official duties
in the public interest of all people without discrimination
against any person, faction or group. Furthermore, as a public
official I pledge not to utilize my office personnel or equipment
on behalf of any ballot issue or candidate.
I, the undersigned, a candidate for election to public
office in the State of West Virginia, or the chairperson of a
political committee supporting one or more candidates for
election, hereby voluntarily endorse, subscribe to, and solemnly
pledge myself to conduct this campaign in accordance with the
above principles and practices.
Candidate for/Committee Name Address and City
The secretary of state shall prepare forms containing the
code and shall supply the forms to the circuit clerks, county
clerks and municipal clerks or recorders in quantities and at
times requested by the clerks.
§3-8A-5. Retention of forms; public inspection.
The officer receiving the filing shall accept, at all times
prior to the election, all completed forms.
Forms filed with the circuit clerk shall be immediately
forwarded to the county clerk. The county clerk, secretary of
state, and municipal recorder or clerk shall retain such forms
filed with them for public inspection until one hundred eighty
days after the general election.
§3-8A-6. Voluntary subscription to the code.
The subscription to the code provided for in this article is
voluntary and in no event shall any person be required to
subscribe to or endorse the code.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to raise filing fees for
candidates in some instances; regulate the placement and removal
of political signs along public rights-of-way, with provision of
criminal penalties for violations; require financial reporting by
inaugural committees; provide filing requirements for sworn
financial statements of specified candidates; regulate the
recovery of loans by political candidates and family members;
limit the use of campaign contributions from political
committees; authorize as lawful certain election expenses; and
provide for a code of fair campaign practices.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.
§§3-8-1a, 3-8-2a, 3-8-8a and 3-8A are new; therefore strike-
throughs and underscoring have been omitted.