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VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ADVISORY COUNCIL
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA


ADVISORY OPINIONS ISSUED

2017

Opinion No. Issue(s)

January


AO-01-17

Summarizes the requirements for responding to a request. A failure to respond to a request for public records is deemed a denial and a violation of FOIA. The statutory remedy for a violation is to file a petition for mandamus or injunction in general district or circuit court.

February
 

AO-02-17

FOIA prohibits voting at public meetings by secret or written ballot as well as voting by telephone or other electronic communication means. However, FOIA does not address the use of electronic voting systems that use computer software to cast, record, and publicly display the votes at a public meeting. Whether such a system comports with FOIA depends on whether it publicly displays the individual vote of each member of the public body, or merely the final vote tally.

March


AO-03-17

A motion to convene a closed meeting must identify the subject of the meeting, the purpose of the meeting, and the exemption(s) which allow the meeting to be closed. A motion that fails to identify the subject, or lacks any other element, is insufficient.

May


AO-04-17

An organization, corporation, or agency in the Commonwealth that receives two-thirds (66.6%) or greater support from public funds is considered to be "supported ... principally by public funds" and therefore is a "public body" subject to FOIA. In some instances, an entity receiving less than two-thirds support from public sources might be considered a "public body" depending on the exact facts of each case. In this opinion, an entity receiving 68% of its support from public funds is considered a public body subject to FOIA.

June


AO-05-17

An organization, corporation, or agency in the Commonwealth that receives two-thirds (66.6%) or greater support from public funds is considered to be "supported ... principally by public funds" and therefore is a "public body" subject to FOIA. Prior opinions advised measuring an entity's level of funding at the time a request is made, but did not specify a time period to use as a measure. FOIA itself is silent on this point. We recommend using a fiscal year as the basis for determination to provide a balance between predictability in knowing whether an entity is subject to FOIA, and flexibility in recognizing changing factual circumstances.

August


AO-06-17

Meeting notices must contain the date, time, and location of the meeting. Notice of regular meetings must be posted at least three working days prior to the meeting. The day of the meeting is not counted as one of the three working days. Working days generally do not include legal holidays, weekends, or other days when the offices of the public body are closed.

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