Senate Bill No. 561
(By Senators Hunter, Deem, Ross, Oliverio, Caldwell,
[Introduced February 17, 2003; referred to the Committee on
Military; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding thereto a new
chapter, designated chapter twenty-four-f, relating to
authorizing the public service commission to regulate
transactions between cemeteries and veterans or their
survivors concerning fees for setting United States department
of veterans' affairs grave markers at the graves of deceased
veterans; setting forth legislative findings; providing for
exemptions; authorizing the public service commission to
enforce orders; providing for judicial review; and providing
that the designation of affected cemeteries is outside the
purview of utility regulation.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred
thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new chapter, designated chapter twenty-four-f, to read as follows:
CHAPTER 24F. VETERANS' GRAVE MARKERS.
ARTICLE 1. VETERANS' GRAVE MARKERS.
§24F-1-1. Legislative findings.
(a) The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to
regulate transactions between cemeteries and veterans in the fees
and charges for the setting of United States department of
veterans' affairs grave markers at the graves of deceased United
States armed forces veterans by authorizing the public service
commission to regulate the fees and charges.
(b) The Legislature further finds that the public service
commission is the appropriate agency to determine the reasonable
rates to be charged by these cemeteries for the setting of these
§24F-1-2. Power and duties.
In addition to its other powers and duties, the public service
commission may determine, establish and modify, in a manner that it
considers appropriate, the fees and charges imposed by cemeteries
for the setting of United States department of veterans' affairs
grave markers at the graves of deceased United States armed forces
§24F-1-3. Cemeteries affected by rate regulation for setting of
department of veterans' affairs grave markers.
Unless otherwise exempted in accordance with section six, article five-a, chapter thirty-five of this code, all cemeteries,
cemetery associations, cemetery companies and perpetual care
cemetery companies, irrespective of how each may be defined in
articles five, five-a and five-b, chapter thirty-five of this code,
fall within the purview of the regulatory powers exercised by the
public service commission in accordance with this chapter.
§24F-1-4. Enforcement powers.
The public service commission may compel obedience to its
lawful orders, as issued pursuant to this chapter, by mandamus or
injunction or other proper proceedings in the name of the state in
any circuit court having jurisdiction of the parties or of the
subject matter, or the supreme court of appeals direct, and the
proceedings shall have priority over all pending cases.
§24F-1-5. Review of final orders of commission.
Any party feeling aggrieved by the entry of a final order by
the commission, which affects that party, may present a petition in
writing to the supreme court of appeals, or to a judge thereof in
vacation, within thirty days after the entry of the order, praying
for the suspension of the final order. The applicant shall deliver
a copy of the petition to the secretary of the commission on or
before the date the petition is presented to the court or the judge
and the secretary shall promptly file with the clerk of the court
all papers, documents, evidence and other records constituting the
complete record in the case, or certified copies of the records that were before the commission at the time of the entry of the
order from which the appeal is taken. The court or judge shall fix
a time for the hearing on the application, but the hearing, unless
by agreement of the parties, shall not be held sooner than five
days after its presentation; and notice of the time and place of
the hearing shall be immediately delivered to the secretary of the
commission so that the commission may be represented at the hearing
by one or more of its members or by counsel. If the court or the
judge after the hearing is of the opinion that a suspending order
should be issued, the court or the judge may require bond, upon
such conditions and in such penalty, and impose such terms and
conditions upon the petition that are just and reasonable. The
commission shall file with the court before the day fixed for the
final hearing a written statement of its reasons for the entry of
the order and after arguments by counsel the court shall decide the
matter in controversy.
§24F-1-6. Cemeteries not regulated as utilities.
No provision of this chapter may be construed to grant the
public service commission the power to regulate an affected
cemetery as a utility.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require the Public
Service Commission to regulate transactions between cemeteries and
veterans or their survivors for the limited purpose of setting fees
for the placement of United States department of veterans' affairs grave markers at the graves of deceased veterans. The bill makes
clear that the cemeteries are not being regulated as utilities.
This chapter is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.