CHAPTER 6B. PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES; ETHICS; CONFLICTS OF INTEREST; FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE.

§6B-2B-2. Limitations on a public official from using his or her name or likeness.

(a) Trinkets. – Public officials, their agents, or anyone on public payroll may not place the public official’s name or likeness on trinkets paid for with public funds: Provided, That when appropriate and reasonable, public officials may expend a minimal amount of public funds for the purchase of pens, pencils, or other markers to be used during ceremonial signings.

(b) Advertising. – (1) Public officials, their agents, or anyone on public payroll may not use public funds, including funds of the office held by the public official, public employees, or public resources to distribute, disseminate, publish, or display the public official’s name or likeness for the purpose of advertising to the public.

(2) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in subdivision (1) of this subsection, the following conduct is not prohibited:

(A) A public official’s name and likeness may be used in a public announcement or mass media communication when necessary, reasonable, and appropriate to relay specific public safety, health, or emergency information.

(B) A public official’s name and likeness may appear on an agency’s social media and website if it complies with §6B-2B-3 of this code.

 (3) Banners and table skirts are considered advertising and may not include the public official’s name or likeness.

(4) Nothing in this article shall be interpreted as prohibiting public officials from using public funds to communicate with constituents in the normal course of their duties as public officials if the communications do not include any reference to voting in favor of the public official in an election.

(c) Vehicles. – Public officials, their agents, or any person on public payroll may not use or place the public official’s name or likeness on any publicly owned vehicles.

(d) Educational Materials. –

A public official’s name or likeness may be placed on any educational material, that is paid for with public funds, so long as the primary purpose of the material is to provide information about the processes, operations, structure, functions, or history of an agency, agencies, or branch of government, or to provide lists of contact information or other identifying information about a public official. Educational materials in which the name and likeness of an official may appear include, but are not limited to: directories; reports; reference books; and legislative publications, such as the West Virginia Blue Book and the Legislative Manual.

(e) Press releases. – Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the name and likeness of a public official may be included in a press release, produced with public funds and which is disseminated by any means, if that press release is intended for a legitimate news or informational purpose and, considered as a whole, does not feature or present the public official in a form, manner, or context which is intended to promote the official. A press release produced with public funds may not request, solicit, or promote voting for any official or political party.

§6B-2B-2. Limitations on a public official from using his or her name or likeness.