H. B. 2126
(By Delegates Linch, Fleischauer, Yeager,
Collins, Mahan and McGraw)
[Introduced January 13, 1999; referred to the
Committee on Political Subdivisions then the
A BILL to amend and reenact section twenty-four, article fifteen,
chapter eight of the code of West Virginia, one thousand
nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to political
activities of paid members of fire departments; authorizing
members of paid fire departments to hold political offices
and solicit and receive political contributions, and
creating certain exceptions thereto.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section twenty-four, article fifteen, chapter eight of
the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one,
as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 15. FIRE FIGHTING; FIRE COMPANIES AND DEPARTMENTS; CIVIL
SERVICE FOR PAID FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
§8-15-24. Political activities of members prohibited;
(a) No member of any paid fire department may:
(1) Solicit or receive any assessment, subscription or contribution, except for his or her own candidacy, or perform any
service for any political party, committee or candidate for
compensation, other than for expenses actually incurred;
(2) Use any official authority or influence, including, but
not limited to, the wearing by a member of a paid fire department
of his or her uniform, for the purpose of interfering with or
affecting the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate or
the passage or defeat of any ballot issue: Provided, That this
shall may not be construed to prohibit any member of
a paid fire department from casting his or her vote at any
election while wearing his or her uniform;
(3) Coerce or command anyone to pay, lend or contribute
anything of value to a party, committee, organization, agency or
person for the nomination, election or defeat of a ballot issue;
(4) Be a candidate for or hold any other public office
the municipality in which he or she is employed.
(5) Be a candidate or delegate to any state or national
political party convention or a member of any national, state or
local committee of a political party, or serve as a financial
agent or treasurer within the meaning of sections three, four or
five-e, article eight, chapter three of this code.
(b) Other types of partisan or nonpartisan political
activities not inconsistent with the provisions of subsection (a)
of this section are permissible political activities for members of paid fire departments.
(c) Any member of a paid fire department who violates the
provisions of this section shall have his or her appointment
vacated and shall be removed, in accordance with the provisions
of section twenty-five of this article.
(d) No person
shall may be appointed or promoted to or
demoted or dismissed from any position in a paid fire department
or in any way favored or discriminated against because of his or
her engagement in any political activities activity authorized by
the provisions of this section. Any elected or appointed
official who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be
is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be
punished by the penalties contained in section twenty-six
article fifteen, chapter eight of this code of this article.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow professional
firefighters to run for office except in the municipality where
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TITLE AMENDMENT
H. B. 2126 -- "A Bill to amend and reenact section twenty-
four, article fifteen, chapter eight of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended,
relating to political activities of paid members of fire
departments; authorizing members of paid fire departments to hold
political offices and solicit and receive political
contributions, and creating certain exceptions thereto."