H. B. 4476
(By Delegates Staton, Amores, Dalton, Wills,
Webb, Faircloth and Smirl)
[Originating in the House Committee on the Judiciary]
[February 9, 2000]
A BILL to amend article three-c, chapter sixty-one of the code of
West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated section
twenty-a, relating to prohibiting state employees from
accessing a nonpublic computer of a state agency and causing
obscene matter to be communicated, delivered or transmitted;
and providing for punitive action.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article three-c, chapter sixty-one of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be
amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section twenty-
a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3C. WEST VIRGINIA COMPUTER CRIME AND ABUSE ACT.
§61-3C-20a. Use of state computer to originate, communicate or retrieve obscene matter.
(a) For the purposes of this section the words or terms
defined in this subsection have the meanings ascribed to them.
These definitions are applicable unless a different meaning clearly
appears from the context.
(1) "Chat" means software that provides the ability to
communicate using a computer keyboard in real-time with other
persons on a network of computers like the internet or an intranet.
(2) "Communication and information retrieval methods" means
methods that are used to originate, transmit or receive text,
sound, pictures or moving video images over the internet. The
methods include, but are not limited to, (A) electronic mail; (B)
automatic mailing list services; (C) newsgroups; (D) chat; and (E)
use of the world wide web to search for and retrieve information
stored in remote computers.
(3) "Internet" means a worldwide interconnection of
individual computer networks operated by government, industry,
academia, and private parties.
(4) "Obscene matter" means matter that:
(A) An average person, applying contemporary adult community
standards, would find, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient
interest, is intended to appeal to the prurient interest, or is pandered to a prurient interest;
(B) An average person, applying contemporary adult community
standards, would find depicts or describes, in a patently offensive
way, sexually explicit conduct consisting of an ultimate sexual
act, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, an excretory
function, masturbation, lewd exhibition of the genitals, or
sadomasochistic sexual abuse; and
(C) A reasonable person would find, taken as a whole, lacks
serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
(5) "Punitive action" means any action which may lead to
dismissal, demotion, suspension, transfer, reduction in salary, or
written reprimand for purposes of punishment.
(6) "State employee" means any person hired for permanent
employment, either full or part-time, by any department, agency,
commission or board of the state.
(7) "World wide web" means an international,
virtual-network-based information service composed of internet host
computers that provide on-line information in specially formatted
documents using hypertext markup language (HTML). The world wide
web supports links to other documents, as well as graphics, audio,
and video files.
(b) Any state employee who deliberately accesses any nonpublic computer of an agency of the state of West Virginia that
is exclusively for the use of the government of the state of West
Virginia and uses communication and information retrieval methods
to cause obscene matter to be communicated, delivered or
transmitted is subject to punitive action under any applicable
(c) This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized
investigative, protective, or intelligence activity of a law
enforcement agency of the state of West Virginia.
(d) No punitive action may be imposed under this section
unless action to impose a punitive action is begun within one year
of the date of the prohibited conduct or the date of the discovery
of the prohibited conduct.