H. B. 2001
(By Delegates Stemple, Kominar, Pino, Pethtel, Mahan,
Amores and Craig)
(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)
[January 9, 2003]
A BILL to amend article one, chapter seven of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated section three-ll,
relating to restricting public access to military discharge
forms recorded in the county clerks office.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article one, chapter 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 three-ll, to read
ARTICLE 1. COUNTY COMMISSIONS GENERALLY.
§7-1-3ll. Clerk of the county commission duties relating to record
keeping of military discharge forms.
(a) The county commission shall order that the clerk of the
county commission wherein a person discharged from the armed forces of the United States resides shall record, upon presentation, free
of charge, the original or a properly authenticated copy of either
the discharge certificate or the report of separation from active
duty (Department of Defense Document DD-214), or both, and shall
maintain such record in the clerk's office, in a secure manner,
rendering said records unavailable to the public.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of article one, chapter
twenty-nine-b, discharge certificates and reports of separation
from active duty recorded pursuant to this section shall be open
for inspection and copying only by the following:
(1) The person of the record;
(2) The duly qualified conservator or guardian of the person
of the record;
(3) The duly qualified executor or administrator of the
estate of the person of the record, if deceased, or, in the event
no executor or administrator has qualified, the next of kin of the
(4) An attorney, attorney-in-fact, or other agent or
representative of any of the persons described in subdivision (1),
(2) or (3), subsection (b) of this section, acting pursuant to a
written power of attorney or other written authorization; or
(5) A duly authorized representative of an agency or
instrumentality of federal, state, or local government seeking the
record in the ordinary course of performing its official duties.
(c) Under the circumstances in which time is of the essence,
including, but not limited to, requests for copies of records
attendant to the making of funeral arrangements or arrangements for
medical care, the clerk, in ascertaining whether a person seeking
access to discharge certificates or reports of separation from
active duty is qualified to do so pursuant to subsection (b) of
this section, may rely upon the sworn statement of the requestor
made in person before the clerk or his deputy.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this
section, the clerk may permit access to discharge certificates or
reports of separation from active duty of deceased persons for bona
fide genealogical or other research purposes.