Senate Bill No. 90
(Senators Ross, Ball, Sharpe, Anderson, Mitchell, Unger,
Hunter and Love,
[Passed March 10, 2000; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend chapter thirty-seven of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended,
by adding thereto a new article, designated article
thirteen-a, relating to graves on private lands; authorizing
certain persons access to cemeteries or graves on private
lands for stated purposes; requiring the persons to act
responsibly and making the persons liable to owners for
damage; limiting the use of motor vehicles to access
cemeteries and graves; creating a cause of action for
injunctive relief; and application of the article.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter thirty-seven of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated article thirteen-a, to
read as follows:
ARTICLE 13A. GRAVES LOCATED UPON PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS.
§37-13A-1. Access of certain persons to cemeteries and graves
located on private land.
For the purposes set forth in section two of this article,
the state recognizes that the owners of private land on which a
cemetery or graves are located have a duty to allow ingress and
egress to the cemetery or graves by family members, close friends
and descendants of deceased persons buried there, by any cemetery
plot owner, or by any person engaging in genealogy research who
has given reasonable notice to the owner of record or to the
occupant of the property or to both the owner and occupant. The
access route may be designated by the landowner if no traditional
access route is obviously visible by a view of the property.
§37-13A-2. Purposes for which access is allowed.
The right of ingress and egress granted to persons specified
in section one of this article shall be limited to the purposes
of: (1) Visiting graves; (2) maintaining the grave site or
cemetery; (3) burying a deceased person in a cemetery plot by
those granted rights of burial to that plot; and (4) conducting
§37-13A-3. Conduct of persons accessing cemeteries or grave sites; persons liable for damage.
All persons exercising access to a grave site or cemetery
under the provisions of this article are responsible for
conducting themselves in a manner that does not damage the
private lands, the cemetery or grave sites and are liable to the
owner of the private lands for any damage caused as a result of
§37-13A-4. Limiting the use of motor vehicles on private lands.
The access to a cemetery or grave site on private lands
conferred by this article does not include the right to operate
motor vehicles on the private lands, unless there is a road or
adequate right-of-way that permits access by motor vehicle and
the owner has given written permission to use the road or right-
of-way or way of necessity.
§37-13A-5. Cause of action for injunctive relief.
Any person denied reasonable access under the provisions of
this section, including the denial of permission to use vehicular
access, may institute a proceeding in the circuit court of the
county in which the cemetery or grave site is located to enjoin
the owner of the private lands on which the cemetery or grave
site is located, or his or her agent, from denying the person
reasonable ingress and egress to the cemetery or grave site for the purposes set forth in section two of this article. In
granting such relief, the court may set the frequency of access,
hours and duration of the access.
§37-13A-6. Application of article.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to any deed
or other written instrument executed prior to the effective date
of this article which creates or reserves a cemetery or grave
site on private property and which specifically sets forth terms