Senate Bill No. 667
(By Senator Oliverio)
[Introduced March 23, 2009; referred to the Committee on the
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
ARTICLE 6. CRIMES AGAINST THE PEACE.
§61-6-26. Unlawful panhandling and solicitation; fraudulent
(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
(A) Blocking the path of the person being asked for a
(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.