Senate Bill No. 587

(By Senator Unger)


[Introduced February 21, 2000; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section one-b, article six, chapter sixty-one of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to crimes against the peace; creating a misdemeanor criminal offense for displaying writings or signs designed to cause harm to another person, whether it is physical, mental or emotional harm; and providing criminal penalty.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section one-b, article six, chapter sixty-one of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§61-6-1b. Disorderly conduct; penalty.

(a) Any person who, in a public place, a mobile home park, a public parking area, a common area of an apartment building or dormitory or a common area of a privately owned commercial shopping center, mall or other group of commercial retail establishments, or on any other property, whether privately owned or rented, disturbs the peace of others by violent, profane, indecent or boisterous conduct or language or by the making of unreasonably loud noise that is intended to cause annoyance or alarm to another person, or who attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical, mental or emotional harm to another by violent, profane, indecent or boisterous conduct, language,
writings or signs that are placed on that person's property or residence, with the intent to cause physical, mental or emotional harm to another person, and who persists in such conduct after being requested to desist by a law-enforcement officer acting in his lawful capacity, is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Mobile home park" means a privately-owned residential housing area or subdivision wherein the dwelling units are comprised mainly of mobile homes and wherein the occupants of such dwelling units share common elements for purposes of ingress and egress, parking, recreation and other like residential purposes.
(2) "Mobile home" means a moveable or portable unit, designed and constructed to be towed on its own chassis (comprised of frame and wheels), and designed to be connected to utilities for year-round occupancy. The term includes: (A) Units containing parts that may be folded, collapsed or telescoped when being towed and that may be expanded to provide additional cubic capacity, and (B) units composed of two or more separately towable components designed to be joined into one integral unit capable of being separated again into the components for repeated towing.
(3) "Public parking area" means an area, whether publicly or privately owned or maintained, open to the use of the public for parking motor vehicles.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the offense of disorderly conduct for an act originating on an individual's property, when the act is in the nature of displaying signs containing language designed to cause mental or emotional harm to a person who reads or sees the writing.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.