H. B. 4370
(By Delegates Facemyer, Faircloth,
L. White, Amores and Hines)
[Introduced February 2, 2000; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend article thirteen, chapter thirty-seven of the code
of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated section
eight, relating to graves on private lands; authorizing
certain persons access to cemeteries or grave sites on private
lands; creating cause of action for injunctive relief;
requiring visitors to conduct themselves in a responsible
manner; and limiting the use of motor vehicles on the private
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article thirteen, chapter thirty-seven of the code of
West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be
amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section eight, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 13. GRAVES LOCATED UPON PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS.
§37-13-8. Access of certain persons to cemeteries or grave sites
on private lands.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the
contrary, any cemetery plot owner, heir or devisee of a deceased
person, family member of a deceased person or person interested in
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 the occupant, has the right of ingress and egress to
a family or private cemetery or grave site located on private
lands. The right of ingress and egress granted under the
provisions of this section is only for the purpose of visiting or
maintaining the grave site or cemetery or for the purpose of
(b) Any person denied access under the provisions of this
section 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 ingress and
egress to the cemetery or grave site for such purposes.
(c) All persons exercising access to a grave site or cemetery
under the provisions of this section are responsible for conducting
themselves in a manner that does not damage the private lands or
the cemetery or grave site and are liable to the owner of the
private lands for any damage caused as a result of their access.
The access to a cemetery or grave site on private lands conferred
by this section 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.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to permit access to family
or private cemeteries by cemetery plot owners, heirs of deceased
persons, family members of deceased persons and persons interested
in engaging in genealogy research for the purposes of visitation of
the grave sites, maintenance of the grave site or cemetery or
research. It also creates a cause of action for injunctive relief
if a person is not permitted access to the cemetery, requires
visitors to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and limits
the use of motor vehicles when accessing the cemetery.
This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.