Privacy Bill Essentials: West Virginia HB 3159

April 6, 2021 | Updated May 11, 2021
Hinshaw Privacy & Cyber Bytes

* Update - West Virginia House Bill 3159 died when West Virginia legislature adjourned on Saturday, April 10, 2021, after 60 days in session.

West Virginia Republicans introduced House Bill 3159 on March 15, 2021. The Bill would protect consumer data by providing a right to opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information, the right to request a copy of the personal data collected twice a year, and the ability to request deletion or correction of certain personal information.

To whom would it apply?

The Bill would apply to for-profit businesses that collect personal information about consumers, determine the purposes and means of processing the personal information, and satisfy one or more of the following:

The Bill defines a "consumer" as a natural person who resides in or is domiciled in the state of West Virginia. This definition includes those domiciled in the state who reside outside the state for a temporary or transitory purpose.

The term "share" is defined as sharing, renting, releasing, disclosing, disseminating, making available, transferring, or accessing a consumer's personal information for advertising and includes: 

What types of information would it cover?

Personal information is defined as information that identifies, relates to, or describes a particular consumer or household, or is reasonably capable of being directly or indirectly associated or linked with a particular consumer or household. This information includes, for example:

Personal information does not include public information made available from federal, state, or local government records and deidentified or aggregate consumer information.     

What rights would it create?

The Bill provides the right to opt-out of the sale or sharing to third parties and the ability to request deletion or correction of certain personal information. A business may not be required to comply with a request to delete if it is necessary to maintain the personal information in order to:

The Bill provides for the right to request that a business collecting personal information disclose to the consumer the categories and specific pieces of information the business collects and/or has sold or shared. The consumer also has the right to request a copy of the personal data collected, but may only do so twice a year. 

The legislature prohibits discrimination against consumers who exercise their rights under the article. Discrimination under the section includes denying goods or services, charging different prices or rates, or providing a different level or quality of goods or services.

What obligations would it impose?

Businesses would be required to maintain an online privacy policy, make the policy available on their website, and update the information at least once every twelve months. The policy must include:

The Bill also contains requirements for contracts between a business and service providers or third parties which prohibit selling or sharing of personal information, among other prohibitions. Subcontractors must also abide by these terms.

How would it be enforced?

The West Virginia Division of Consumer Protection is empowered to establish rules under the legislation for enforcement and bring suit for violations. Businesses are given 30 days to cure a violation after being notified in writing of the alleged noncompliance.

The Bill provides for a private right of action for a consumer whose unencrypted and nonredacted personal information is subject to unauthorized access, theft, or disclosure as a result of a business's violation to implement and maintain security procedures to protect personal information. The consumer may bring a civil action for damages and injunctive or declaratory relief.

When would it go into effect?

Effective date yet to be determined.

Where does it stand? 

The Bill was introduced in the House on March 15, 2021, and is under consideration in the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee. Republicans currently have a veto-proof supermajority in both legislative chambers, and the party also controls the governorship, so the bill will not require bipartisan support.