Email: Chapter 4, Article 1A, Section 1
§4-1A-1. Purpose; legislative findings and declarations.
(a) The purpose of this article is to describe the scope and limitations of legislative immunity provided by:
(1) English common law;
(2) The Speech or Debate Clause of the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 6;
(3) Decisions regarding legislative immunity as developed in federal common law by the federal judiciary in interpreting the Speech or Debate Clause of the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 6;
(5) The Speech or Debate Clause of the West Virginia Constitution, Article VI, Section 17;
(6) The Separation of Powers Doctrine and the system of checks and balances embodied in the United States Constitution; and
(7) The Division of Powers set forth in the West Virginia Constitution, Article V, Section 1.
(b) The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(1) That the privilege of Speech or Debate has been recognized as an important protection of the independence and integrity of the Legislature.
(2) That the ancestry of this privilege traces back to a clause in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and the history traces even further back, almost to the beginning of the development of the English Parliament as an independent force.
(3) That in the American governmental structure, privileges arising under the Speech or Debate Clause reinforce the Separation of Powers Doctrine and the system of checks and balances that was so deliberately established by the founding fathers and was carried over into the West Virginia Constitution.
(4) That the protections provided by the Speech or Debate Clause and the Separation of Powers Doctrine were not written into the national and state Constitutions simply for the personal or private benefit of members of Congress, the State Legislatures and local governing bodies, but were intended to protect the integrity of the legislative process by insuring the independence of individual legislators.