Senate Bill No. 31
(By Senators Blatnik, Bowman, Ross, Sharpe and Anderson)
[Introduced January 11, 1996; referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact sections one and two, article
eight-a, chapter sixty-one of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, all relating
to the preparation of, distribution or exhibition of obscene
matter to minors; definitions; and penalties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections one and two, article eight-a, chapter
sixty-one of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred
thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as
ARTICLE 8A. PREPARATION, DISTRIBUTION OR EXHIBITION OF OBSCENE
MATTER TO MINORS.
When used in this article, the following words, and any
variations thereof required by the context, shall have the
meaning ascribed to them in this section:
(1) "Distribute" means to transfer possession of, whether
with or without consideration.
(2) "Employee" means any individual who renders personal
services in the course of a business, who receives compensation
therefor at a fixed rate and who has no financial interest in the
ownership or operation of the business other than his salary or
(3) "Exhibit" means to display or offer for viewing, whether
with or without consideration.
(4) "Knowingly" means to have knowledge or to be aware of
the content or character of obscene matter.
(5) "Matter" means any book, magazine, newspaper or other
printed or written material, or any picture, drawing or
photograph, motion picture, or other visual representation, or
any statue or other figure, or live conduct, or any recording,
transcription or mechanical, chemical or electrical reproduction,
or any other articles, equipment, machines or materials.
(6) "Minor" means any individual under the age of eighteen years.
(7) "Obscene matter" means to the average individual,
applying contemporary state standards, matter which:
(a) Considered as a whole, appeals to the prurient
(b) Depicts or describes in a patently offensive manner
gratuitous acts of violence or degradation or ultimate sexual
acts, both normal and perverted, actual or simulated,
masturbation, sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus, bestiality, sadism,
excretory functions or lewd exhibition of the genitals; and
(c) Considered as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic,
political or scientific value.
(8) "Person" means any individual, partnership, firm,
association, corporation or other legal entity.
(9) "Prepare" means to produce, publish or print.
(10) "Public display" means the placing of material on or in
a billboard, viewing screen, audio equipment, theater, marquee,
newsstand, display rack, window, showcase, display case or
similar public place so that the material within the meaning of
"obscene matter" is easily visible or within hearing from a
public thoroughfare, from the property of others or from commercial or business premises generally open to minors at the
time of such placing.
§61-8A-2. Preparation, distribution or exhibition of obscene
matter to minors; penalties.
If any person knowingly sends or causes to be sent or brings
or causes to be brought into this state for distribution,
exhibition, or public display, or in this state prepares,
distributes, exhibits or makes a public display or offers to
prepare, distribute, exhibit, or make a public display, or has in
his possession with the intent to distribute, exhibit, or make a
public display of any obscene matter, as defined in section one
of this article, to a minor, he
shall be or she is guilty of a
misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not
more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned in the county jail
not more than six months or both fined and imprisoned. A person
convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section
shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction
thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or
imprisoned in the county jail not more than one year or both
fined and imprisoned.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to include gratuitous
acts of violence and degradation within the definition of
"obscene matter" so that the knowing distribution, exhibition or
display of such matter, including audio materials, to minors is
punishable as a misdemeanor.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.