Senate Bill No. 7
(By Senators Foster, Stollings, Hunter, Kessler, Barnes, Jenkins
[Introduced January 10, 2007; referred to the Committee on Health
and Human Resources.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §16-1-19; and to
amend and reenact §52-1-8 of said code, all relating to public
health; recognizing health benefits of breast feeding for both
mother and infant; requiring Secretary of the Department of
Health and Human Resources to develop program to encourage and
recognize employers with mother-infant-friendly policies;
requiring rules; and providing that breast-feeding mothers may
be excused from jury duty.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §16-1-19; and that
§52-1-8 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as
CHAPTER 16. PUBLIC HEALTH.
ARTICLE 1. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM.
§16-1-19. Breast feeding promoted, facilitated and protected;
mother/infant-friendly employers encouraged; jury
service not required.
(a) The Legislature finds that promoting the breast feeding of
infants is an important public health initiative providing
significant health benefits for both mother and child.
(b) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human
Resources shall develop a program to encourage employers to provide
safe and convenient facilities for mothers who are breast feeding,
and to provide for designation and public recognition of those
mother/infant-friendly employers who facilitate breast feeding by
employees by providing breaks from work, convenient facilities
including available refrigerated storage, flexible schedules, or
(c) The Secretary of the State Department of Health and Human
Resources shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance
with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine of this
code, to effectuate the provisions of this section.
CHAPTER 52. JURIES.
ARTICLE 1. PETIT JURIES.
§52-1-8. Disqualification from jury service.
(a) The court, upon request of a prospective juror or on its own initiative, shall determine on the basis of information provided
on the juror qualification form or interview with the prospective
juror or other competent evidence whether the prospective juror is
disqualified for jury service. The clerk shall enter this
determination in the space provided on the juror qualification form
and on the alphabetical lists of names drawn from the jury wheel or
(b) A prospective juror is disqualified to serve on a jury if
the prospective juror:
(1) Is not a citizen of the United States, at least eighteen
years old and a resident of the county;
(2) Is unable to read, speak and understand the English
language. For the purposes of this section, the requirement of
speaking and understanding the English language is met by the
ability to communicate in American sign language or signed English;
(3) Is incapable, by reason of substantial physical or mental
disability, of rendering satisfactory jury service; but a person
claiming this disqualification may be required to submit a
physician's certificate as to the disability and the certifying
physician is subject to inquiry by the court at its discretion;
(4) Has, within the preceding two years, been summoned to serve
as a petit juror, grand juror or magistrate court juror, and has
actually attended sessions of the magistrate or circuit court and
been reimbursed for his or her expenses as a juror pursuant to the provisions of section twenty-one of this article, section thirteen,
article two of this chapter, or pursuant to an applicable rule or
regulation of the Supreme Court of Appeals promulgated pursuant to
the provisions of section eight, article five, chapter fifty of this
(5) Has lost the right to vote because of a criminal
(6) Has been convicted of perjury, false swearing or other
(c) A prospective juror who is sixty-five years of age or
older, or who is a mother breast feeding a child, is not
disqualified from serving, but shall be excused from service by the
court upon the juror's request.
(d) A prospective grand juror is disqualified to serve on a
grand jury if the prospective grand juror is an officeholder under
the laws of the United States or of this state except that the term
"officeholder" does not include notaries public.
(e) A person who is physically disabled and can render
competent service with reasonable accommodation shall not be
ineligible to act as juror or be dismissed from a jury panel on the
basis of disability alone: Provided, That the circuit judge shall,
upon motion by either party or upon his or her own motion,
disqualify a disabled juror if the circuit judge finds that the
nature of potential evidence in the case including, but not limited to, the type or volume of exhibits or the disabled juror's ability
to evaluate a witness or witnesses, unduly inhibits the disabled
juror's ability to evaluate the potential evidence. For purposes
of this section:
(1) Reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to,
certified interpreters for the hearing impaired, spokespersons for
the speech impaired and readers for the visually impaired.
(2) The court shall administer an oath or affirmation to any
person present to facilitate communication for a disabled juror.
The substance of such oath or affirmation shall be that any person
present as an accommodation to a disabled juror will not deliberate
on his or her own behalf, although present throughout the
proceedings, but act only to accurately communicate for and to the
(f) Nothing in this article shall be construed so as to limit
in any way a party's right to peremptory strikes in civil or
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to promote the breast feeding
of infants as a public health initiative. The bill: (1) Requires
the Secretary of the State Department of Health and Human Resources
to establish a program to encourage and recognize
mother/infant-friendly employers; (2)
requires rules; and (3)
permits breast feeding mothers to be excused from jury duty.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would
§16-1-9 is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring
have been omitted.