WVC 15 -
CHAPTER 15. PUBLIC SAFETY.
WVC 15 - 7 -
ARTICLE 7. EMERGENCY INTERIM LEGISLATIVE SUCCESSION ACT.
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§15-7-1. Citation of article.
This article shall be known as the "Emergency Interim
Legislative Succession Act."
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§15-7-2. Declaration of policy.
The Legislature declares: (1) That recent technological
developments make possible an enemy attack of unprecedented
destructiveness, which may result in the death of inability to
act of a large proportion of the membership of the Legislature;
(2) that to conform in time of attack to existing legal
requirements pertaining to the Legislature would be
impracticable, would admit of undue delay, and would jeopardize
continuity of operation of a legally constituted Legislature; and
(3) that it is therefore necessary to adopt special provisions as
hereinafter set out for the effective operation of the
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As used in this article:
(a) "Attack" means any action or series of actions taken by
an enemy of the United States resulting in substantial damage or
injury to persons or property in this state whether through
sabotage, bombs, missiles, shellfire, or atomic, radiological,
chemical, bacteriological, or biological means or other weapons
(b) "Unavailable" means absent from the place of session
(other than on official business of the Legislature), or unable,
for physical, mental or legal reasons, to exercise the powers and
discharge the duties of a legislator, whether or not such absence
or inability would give rise to a vacancy under existing
constitutional or statutory provisions.
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§15-7-4. Designation of emergency interim successors to
Each legislator shall designate not fewer than three nor
more than seven emergency interim successors to his powers and
duties and specify their order of succession. Each legislator
shall review and, as necessary, promptly revise the designations
of emergency interim successors to his powers and duties to
insure that at all times there are at least three such qualified
emergency interim successors.
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§15-7-5. Status, qualifications and term of emergency interim
An emergency interim successor is one who is designated for
possible temporary succession to the powers and duties, but not
the office, of a legislator. No person shall be designated or
serve as an emergency interim successor unless he may under the
constitution and statutes hold the office of the legislator to
whose powers and duties he is designated to succeed, but no
constitutional or statutory provision prohibiting a legislator
from holding another office or prohibiting the holder of another
office from being a legislator shall be applicable to an
emergency interim successor. An emergency interim successor
shall serve at the pleasure of the legislator designating him or
of any subsequent incumbent of the legislative office.
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§15-7-6. Contingent method of designating emergency interim
Prior to an attack, if a legislator fails to designate the
required minimum number of emergency interim successors within
thirty days following the effective date of this article or,
after such period, if for any reason the number of emergency
interim successors for any legislator falls below the required
minimum and remains below such minimum for a period of thirty
days, then the floor leader of the same political party in the
same house as such legislator shall promptly designate as many
emergency interim successors as are required to achieve such
minimum number, but the emergency interim successors so
designated shall not have a rank in order of succession higher
than that of any remaining emergency interim successor previously
designated by a legislator for succession to his own powers and
duties. Each emergency interim successor designated by the
respective floor leaders shall serve at the pleasure of the
person designating him, but the legislator for whom the emergency
interim successor is designated or any subsequent incumbent of
his office may change the rank in order of succession or replace
at his pleasure any emergency interim successor so designated.
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§15-7-7. Recording and publication of successor's name.
Each designation of an emergency interim successor shall
become effective when the legislator or floor leader authorized
by section six of this article to make such designation files
with the secretary of state the successor's name, address and
rank in order of succession. The removal of an emergency interim
successor or change in order of succession shall become effective
when the legislator or floor leader authorized by section six of
this article to do so, files this information with the secretary
of state. All such data shall be open to public inspection. The
secretary of state shall inform the governor, the director of the
office of emergency services, the clerk of the house concerned
and all emergency interim successors of all such designations,
removals and changes in order of succession. The clerk of each
house shall enter all information regarding emergency interim
successors for the house in its public journal at the beginning
of each legislative session and shall enter all changes in
membership or order of succession as soon as possible after their
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§15-7-8. Oath of emergency interim successors.
Promptly after designation each emergency interim successor
shall take the oath required for the legislator to whose powers
and duties he is designated to succeed. No other oath shall be
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§15-7-9. Duty of emergency interim successors.
Each emergency interim successor shall keep himself
generally informed as to the duties, procedures, practices and
current business of the legislature, and each legislator shall
assist his emergency interim successors to keep themselves so
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§15-7-10. Place of legislative session in event of attack, etc.
Whenever in the event of an attack, or upon findings that an
attack may be imminent, the governor deems the place of session
then prescribed to be unsafe, he may change it to any place
within or without the state which he deems safer and convenient.
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§15-7-11. Assumption of powers and duties of legislator by
emergency interim successor.
If in the event of an attack a legislator is unavailable,
his emergency interim successor highest in order of succession
who is not unavailable shall, except for the power and duty to
appoint emergency interim successors, exercise the powers and
assume the duties of such legislator. An emergency interim
successor shall exercise these powers and assume these duties
until the incumbent legislator, and emergency interim successor
higher in order of succession, or a legislator appointed or
elected and legally qualified can act. Each house of the
Legislature shall, in accordance with its own rules, determine
who is entitled under the provisions of this article to exercise
the powers and assume the duties of its members. All
constitutional and statutory provisions pertaining to ouster of a
legislator shall be applicable to an emergency interim successor
who is exercising the powers and assuming the duties of a
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§15-7-12. Privileges, immunities and compensation of emergency
When an emergency interim successor exercises the powers and
assumes the duties of a legislator, he shall be accorded the
privileges and immunities, compensation, allowances and other
perquisites of office to which a legislator is entitled. In the
event of an attack, each emergency interim successor, whether or
not called upon to exercise the powers and assume the duties of a
legislator, shall be accorded the privileges and immunities of a
legislator while traveling to and from a place of session and
shall be compensated for his travel in the same manner and amount
as a legislator. This section shall not in any way affect the
privileges, immunities, compensation, allowances or other
perquisites of office of an incumbent legislator.
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§15-7-13. Separability of provisions.
The various provisions of this article shall be construed as
separable and severable, and should any of the provisions or
parts thereof be construed or held unconstitutional or for any
reason be invalid, the remaining provisions of this article shall
not be thereby affected.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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