State lawmakers want to give police another tool to combat graffiti and help property owners fight blight.

The Senate approved a bill Wednesday that considers marking or painting property with a word, figure or design as graffiti. A first offense would be a misdemeanor. Violators would face up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine if the damage is worth more than $1,000.

A House version of the bill sets the threshold at $1,500 and would allow judges to suspend the driver’s licenses of teen violators.

Damaging or defacing property is already a crime in West Virginia and many cities have graffiti ordinances. But police and prosecutors asked for graffiti to be added to state code to tackle the growing scourge of graffiti throughout the state.

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