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Introduced Version Senate Bill 667 History

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Senate Bill No. 667

(By Senator Oliverio)


[Introduced March 23, 2009; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]


A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-6-26, relating to unlawful panhandling and solicitation; exempting fire departments; and providing criminal penalties.

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 §61-6-26, to read as follows:
§61-6-26. Unlawful panhandling and solicitation; fraudulent solicitation prohibited.

(a) For purposes of this section, "panhandling" means any solicitation made in person requesting an immediate donation of money. The purchase of an item for an amount far exceeding its value, under circumstances where a reasonable person would understand that the purchase is, in substance, a donation is considered a donation.
(b) No person may panhandle:
(1) At a bus stop or train stop;
(2) In a public transportation vehicle or facility;
(3) In a vehicle on the street;
(4) On private property, unless the panhandler has written permission from the owner or occupant of the private property; or
(5) On any street, sidewalk, public right-of-way or public property by:
(A) Blocking the path of the person being asked for a donation;
(B) Following a person who walks away from the panhandler; or
(C) Making any statement, gesture or other communication by which the panhandler knowingly causes another to believe that the panhandler will cause physical harm to the person or property of the other person.
(c) Upon a first offense, a person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined $100. Upon a second or subsequent violation of the provisions of this section, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $250 nor more than $1,000.
(d) A bona fide fire department is exempt from the provisions of subsection (b) of this section when soliciting donations to support its operation.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to prohibit panhandling under specified situations. It also provides criminal penalties for violations and exempts fire departments from its provisions.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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