State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > West-virginia > 02 > 2-2-10

§2-2-10. Rules for construction of statutes.
The following rules shall be observed in the construction of statutes, unless a different intent on the part of the Legislature be apparent from the context:

(a) A word importing the singular number only may be applied to several persons or things, as well as to one person or thing; a word importing the plural number only may be applied to one person or thing as well as to several; and a word importing the masculine gender only may be applied to females as well as males;

(b) Words purporting to give a joint authority to three or more persons confer such authority upon a majority of them, and not upon any less number;

(c) The words "written" or "in writing" include any representation of words, letters or figures, whether by printing, engraving, writing or otherwise. But when the signature of any person is required, it must be in his or her own proper handwriting, or his or her mark, attested, proved or acknowledged: Provided, That unless a provision of this code specifically provides otherwise, an electronic signature satisfies this signature requirement if the electronic signature meets the requirements of subsection (a), section three, article five, chapter thirty nine of this code;

(d) The words "preceding," "succeeding" or "following" used in reference to any section or sections of a chapter or statute, mean next preceding, next succeeding or next following that in which such reference is made, unless a different interpretation be required by the context;

(e) An officer shall be deemed to have qualified when he or she has done all that is required by law to be done before proceeding to exercise the authority and discharge the duties of his or her office;

(f) The words "the governor" are equivalent to "the executive of the state" or "the person having the executive power";

(g) "Justice" or "justices" as used in article one, chapter fifty-one of this code and in other references to a member or members of the supreme court of appeals shall mean and apply to a judge or the judges of said court as provided for in the constitution of the state. The word "justice" in any other context is equivalent to the words "justice of the peace," and the word "notary" is equivalent to "notary public";

(h) The word "state," when applied to a part of the United States and not restricted by the context, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories, and the words "United States" also include the said district and territories;

(i) The word "person" or "whoever" shall include corporations, societies, associations and partnerships, if not restricted by the context;

(j) The words "personal representative" include the executor of a will, the administrator of the estate of a deceased person, the administrator of such estate with the will annexed, the administrator de bonis non of such estate, whether there be a will or not, the sheriff or other officer lawfully charged with the administration of the estate of a deceased person, and every other curator or committee of a decedent's estate for or against whom suits may be brought for causes of action which accrued to or against such decedent;

(k) The word "will" embraces a testament, a codicil, an appointment by will or writing in the nature of a will in exercise of a power, also any other testamentary disposition;

(l) The word "judgment" includes decrees and orders for the payment of money or the conveyance or delivery of land or personal property, or some interest therein, or any undertaking, bond or recognizance which has the legal effect of a judgment;

(m) The words "under disability" include persons under the age of eighteen years, insane persons, and convicts while confined in the penitentiary;

(n) The words "insane person" include everyone who has mental illness as defined in section two, article one, chapter twenty-seven of this code;

(o) The word "convict" means a person confined in the penitentiary of this or any other state, or of the United States;

(p) The word "land" or "lands" and the words "real estate" or "real property" include lands, tenements and hereditaments, all rights thereto and interests therein except chattel interests;

(q) The words "personal estate" or "personal property" include goods, chattels, real and personal, money, credits, investments and the evidences thereof;

(r) The word "property" or "estate" embraces both real and personal estate;

(s) The word "offense" includes every act or omission for which a fine, forfeiture or punishment is imposed by law;

(t) The expression "laws of the state" includes the constitution of the state and the constitution of the United States, and treaties and laws made in pursuance thereof;

(u) The word "town" includes a city, village or town, and the word "council," any body or board, whether composed of one or more branches, who are authorized to make ordinances for the government of a city, town or village;

(v) When a council of a town, city or village, or any board, number of persons or corporations, are authorized to make ordinances, bylaws, rules, regulations or orders, it shall be understood that the same must be consistent with the laws of this state;

(w) The words "county court" include any existing tribunal created in lieu of a county court; the words "commissioner of the county court" and "county commissioner" mean, and have reference to, the commissioners, or one of them, composing the county court, in pursuance of section twenty-two, article eight of the constitution, as amended, or any existing tribunal created in lieu of a county court;

(x) The word "horse" embraces a stallion, a mare and a gelding;

(y) The words "railroad" and "railway" shall be construed by the courts of this state to mean the same thing in law; and, in any proceeding wherein a railroad company or a railway company is a party, it shall not be deemed error to call a railroad company a railway company or vice versa; nor shall any demurrer, plea or any other defense be set up to a motion, pleading or indictment in consequence of such misdescription;

(z) The sectional headings or headlines of the several sections of this code printed in black-faced type are intended as mere catchwords to indicate the contents of the section and shall not be deemed or taken to be titles of such sections, or as any part of the statute, and, unless expressly so provided, they shall not be so deemed when any of such sections, including the headlines, are amended or reenacted;

(aa) The words "infant" and "minor" mean persons under the age of eighteen years as such words are used in this code or in rules and regulations promulgated by the supreme court of appeals;

(bb) A statute is presumed to be prospective in its operation unless expressly made retrospective;

(cc) Unless there is a provision in a section, article or chapter of this code specifying that the provisions thereof shall not be severable, the provisions of every section, article or chapter of this code, whether enacted before or subsequent to the effective date of this subdivision, shall be severable so that if any provision of any such section, article or chapter is held to be unconstitutional or void, the remaining provisions of such section, article or chapter shall remain valid, unless the court finds the valid provisions are so essentially and inseparably connected with, and so dependent upon, the unconstitutional or void provision that the court cannot presume the Legislature would have enacted the remaining valid provisions without the unconstitutional or void one, or unless the court finds the remaining valid provisions, standing alone, are incomplete and are incapable of being executed in accordance with the legislative intent: Provided, That if any such section, article or chapter of this code has its own severability clause, then such severability clause shall govern and control with respect to such section, article or chapter in lieu of the provisions of this subdivision. The provisions of this subdivision shall be fully applicable to all future amendments or additions to this code, with like effect as if the provisions of this subdivision were set forth in extenso in every such amendment or addition and were reenacted as a part thereof, unless such amendment or addition contains its own severability clause;

(dd) A reference to any section, article or chapter of this code applies to all reenactments, revisions or amendments thereof;

(ee) If a statute refers to a series of numbers or letters, the first and the last numbers or letters in the series are deemed to be included;

(ff) The words "board of regents," wherever they appear in the code, means the board of trustees created by section one, article one, chapter eighteen-b of this code and the board of directors created by section one, article one, chapter eighteen-b of this code unless the term is used in relation to activities conducted solely by an institution or institutions governed by article two, chapter eighteen-b of this code in which case it only means the board of trustees, or where the term is used in relation to activities conducted solely by an institution or institutions governed by article three, chapter eighteen-b of the code in which case it only means the board of directors.