2006 Legislative Round-up
This is a roundup of FOIA legislation in the 2006 session -- plus miscellany of interest. New FOIA amendments and other key bills are underlined; please notify us of omissions or errors. (updated 4.30.2006)
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Proposes study to determine adequacy of the security of state government databases and data communications. Approved.
Reaffirms support of March 16 as Freedom of Information Day
Houck (all other senators are co-patrons)
Commends VCOG on its 10th anniversary; companion to House Resolution 206)
Mandates outpatient psychiatric treatment; creates far-reaching rules for confidentiality. Carried over to 2007.
Amended in subcommittee to continue requirement that Standards of Learning assessments be publicly available "in a timely manner and as soon as practicable" following the administration of such tests. The State Board of Education wanted to keep records confidential up to 3 years.
Creates new record exemption for records, notes, other correspondence during an active review conducted by the Board of Education pursuant to § 22.1-16.§ 22.1-16. Bylaws and regulations generally; exemption does not block access to records that do not reveal individual identities or compromise security of test results
Revises FOIA exemption for PPTA and PPEA projects. Formalizes the earmarking process for the protection of trade secrets, financial records, and other records submitted by a private entity, by requiring a written request for an exclusion from disclosure by the private entity and for a written determination by the responsible public entity that such records will be protected from disclosure under certain circumstances. The bill also amends the PPTA and PPEA to require a public entity to post all accepted conceptual proposals, whether solicited or not.. The bill also requires at least one copy of the proposals shall be made available for public inspection. The bill also requires the responsible public entity to provide an opportunity for public comment 30 days before the execution of an interim or comprehensive agreement. The bill provides that once the process of bargaining of all phases or aspects of an interim or comprehensive agreement is complete, but before an interim or a comprehensive agreement is entered into, a responsible public entity shall post the proposed agreement. Once an interim or comprehensive agreement has been executed, all procurement records, excluding trade secrets, financial information, and cost estimates, are available to the public upon request. The bill is a recommendation of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council. Approved unanimously in the House and Senate. Governor Kayne asked for amendments to permit more secrecy for VDOT negoations. An April 17 compromise permits these amendments for one year only, while allowing further study by the FOIA Council.
Enacts a new campaign finance disclosure act; reorganizes and clarifies provisions in the act; amends various cross-references to the act; and repeals the existing act. The bill is the result of a review of the Act undertaken by the State Board of Elections pursuant to House Joint Resolution 667 (2005).
Requires that direct recording electronic devices be equipped to produce a paper record of each vote that can be verified by the voter and used in recounts. Provides for audits of a percentage of the equipment. Combined with SB424
SB157 (Companion to HB68)
Creates a special fund to be administered by the Supreme Court of Virginia, funded by increased fees. Money in the fund is to be allocated at the direction of the Supreme Court to staff, advance, update, maintain, replace, repair and support telecommunications and technology systems of the judicial system. Amended, approved.
Required review by "the appropriating body " of the terms and conditions of interim or comprehensive agreements under the Public-Private Transportation and Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Acts. Stricken by patron. See SB541.
Evidence received by the proposed Office of Children's Services Ombudsman shall be confidential and not subject to FOIA. Sent to Youth Commission
Requireed filtering at libraries receiving state aid; amended and approved in committee, 9-5; killed in Senate Finance
Companion to Frederick's HB842; Carried over for a year at patron's request, Senate Courts of Justice Committee
As amended, requires disclosure of political contributions exceeding $10,000 by out-of-state 527s. Companion to Chris Jones' HB291. See conference report.
Confidentiality provision for applicant-related information given to the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee. Amended to include tighter FOIA exemption.
As amended and approved, requires that new records be destroyed within 6 months after retention schedules expire. Older records to be destroyed in a timely manner. (Companion House measure stricken by patron, Del. Kirk Cox.)
Amends Freedom of Information Act, permitting electronic meetings for all political subdivisions other than units of local government; bill would allow electronic meetings for overseers of Roanoke's higher ed center. Referred to FOIA Council for study.
Toughens online registry requirements and penalties for sex offenders. Sponsored by the State Crime Commission. Includes criminal records exemption for Records of the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry maintained by the Department of State Police, unless the information is required to be posted on the internet. Approved.
Requires minimum standards, policies and procedures for campus security officers; requires uniform record-keeping and establishment of databases for campus safety and security information sharing.Approved.
Requires the filing of special reports to disclose the source of funds for large PAC contributions ($100,000 for statewide candidates and $25,000 for General Assembly candidates). Large penalties are proposed for violators. Combined with SB436.
SB635 (companion to HB969)
Record exemption for Adult Fatality Review teams, matching existing exemption for Child Fatality Review teams; approved in Rehabilitation and Social Services referred to Finance; carried over.
Prohibits in-session gifts to legislators. Killed in committee.
Mandates that the legislature's Capitol Square Council follow FOIA open-meeting rules. Tabled in House Rules Committee.
If an individual files a written complaint against a physician licensed by the Board of Medicine that is investigated but does not result in disciplinary action, the Director of the Department of Health Professions must give the person an explanation of the Board's decision that disciplinary action was not warranted. Approved.
Required that no later than the first day of the 2007 Regular Session, rules would be in place for a video and audio feed of the daily sessions of the House of Delegates to public television and other broadcast entities (currently available in 40 states). As in past years, killed on show of hands in Rules Committee; foes included the speaker, the majority leader, Kilgore, Wardrup and Putney. Del. Steve Landis, R-Augusta, was the only Republican supporting the measure. A majority of Democrats also backed the measure. There was no recorded vote.
Resolution commending VCOG on its 10th anniversary
Directs the governor to initiate, within 120 days of taking office, a financial and management review of governor-selected executive branch state agencies, except public institutions of higher education, with total agency appropriations of two percent or more of the total state-appropriated funds. Within 18 months of completion of the study, the governor must make the report available to the General Assembly and the Council on Virginia's Future. Killed in Appropriations Committee.
Provides for victim notification when accused is released on bail. Approved.
Udates the Public Records Act to include provisions relating to the management and archiving of electronic records. The notable changes for clerks pursuant to this bill are two: developing plans for record recovery in the wake of disasters, and increased authority to the Library of Virginia to set standards for record maintenance. The bill creates new definitions for electronic
records, lifecycle, metadata, conversion, and migration, and amends the
powers and duties of the Library Board to be medium-neutral and to allow
the Library to issue regulations and guidelines related to the lifecycle
of records, generally. The bill requires the custodians of records to
convert and migrate electronic data as necessary to maintain access to
these records. Finally, the bill allows the Library to conduct audits of
the record keeping practices of agencies subject to the act, and to file
the audit reports with the Governor and the General Assembly. The bill
also includes numerous technical amendments. This bill is a
recommendation of the HJR 6 study (2004). Approved.
Amends the State Publications Depository Program to include electronic publications, and clarifies that the requirements of the Program apply to all state agencies in any branch of government. The bill creates a new reporting requirement for The Library of Virginia to annually report which agencies do not send The Library of Virginia the publications required under the Depository Program. Approved, signed by governor.
Requires the filing of special reports to disclose the source of funds for large contributions made by out-of-state and federal PACS. Approved; see conference report
* HB 292 Campaign finance disclosure; definitions; exemptions.
* HB 293 Campaign finance disclosure; definitions; reporting requirements.
* HB 294 Campaign finance disclosure; definitions; independent expenditures.
* HB 295 Campaign finance disclosure; statements of organization; petty cash funds; depository requirements.
* HB 296 Campaign finance; valuation of certain campaign contributions.
* HB 297 Campaign finance; special reports of large pre-election contributions.
* HJ 32 Campaign Finance Disclosure Act; Board of Elections to continue its review thereof.
HB348 / Companion to SB39
Amended DGIF bill; requires that (i) the minute books and other records of the agency be open to examination by members of the General Assembly and (ii) term limits for board chairman. Approved. with amendment by governor. (Related bills: HB938, HB939, HB979, HB1130)
Allows use of governor's economic-development funds to be used for high-speed or broadband internet for new businesses in rural or underserved areas. Approved.
Makes several amendments so the General Assembly and State and Local Government Conflict of Interest Acts include (i) clarifying that individual stocks and amounts should be listed, (ii) requiring net rather than gross amounts regarding disclosure of business interests, (iii) requiring disclosure of previously deferred compensation when the filer has begun to receive such compensation, (iv) requiring disclosure of payments made by a filer to a lobbyist for representation, (v) adding definitions for "deferred compensation," "deferred compensation plan," and "contingent liability," and (vi) revising the definition of "close financial association." The bill also provides an extension for filing deadlines under the Acts that may fall on a weekend or a legal holiday. The bill is the recommendation of the HJR 186 (2004) Joint Subcommittee Studying Conflicts of Interests and Lobbyist Disclosure Filings. Approved.
Makes several amendments to registration and disclosure provisions for lobbyists including (i) raising the threshold for reporting any single entertainment event from $50 to $100, (ii) clarifying provisions for exempting uncompensated lobbyists from registration and disclosure requirements, (iii) adding a definition of "fair market value," and (iv) adding persons employed by a member or member-elect of the General Assembly to provide legislative support to the definition of "legislative official." The bill is the recommendation of the HJR 186 (2004) Joint Subcommittee Studying Conflicts of Interests and Lobbyist Disclosure Filings. Amended, pproved.
Removes the sunset provision on prohibiting certain information from being put on a court-controlled website. Amended by the patron in House Science and Technology; extends on-line target date to 2007; provides for one-year period to look at new software that removes SSNs from subscriber-accessed documents. Approved unanimously in the House; Senate amendment accepted.
Clarifies where minutes of state boards, commissions and other public bodies in the executive branch of state government must post their meeting minutes. Currently, meeting minutes must be posted on the Internet. The bill stipulates that postings are to be at the website of the public body, if any. The bill, as amended, also requires minutes to be posted on the Commonwealth Calendar and the Regulatory Town Hall site. Approved.
Required filtering by library board or governing body of a library that receives state funding for any purpose. Requirement removed in Senate committee. Amended measure died on last day of session.
Proposes a new FOIA exemption for municipal dams. Exemption stricken by patron.
Confidentiality provision for the Office of Emergency Medical Services and regional emergency medical services councils
Provides an alternative office expense allowance arrangement for General Assembly members. Members may continue the present nonvouchered arrangement or change to an accountable plan within IRS regulations. Under the alternative plan, members will be required to substantiate their business expenditures on a quarterly basis and return any amount in excess of the substantiated expenses. The bill also provides a separate office equipment allowance not to exceed $2,000 during a two-year period. Members will be required to submit a voucher and accompanying receipts prior to receiving payment for equipment expenses. Killed in Rules.
Prohibits remote access to any document that contains (i) an actual signature, (ii) a social security number, (iii) a date of birth identified with a particular person, (iv) the maiden name of a person’s parent so as to be identified with a particular person, (v) any financial account number or numbers, or (vi) the name and age of any minor child; removes deadline for clerks to begin remote-access service. Killed in House Science and Technology by rolling into Nixon's HB563
Allows the Forensic Science Board or the Scientific Advisory Committee to meet in a closed meeting when discussing or considering confidential records. Approved.
Amends the current FOIA exemptions for hospital authorities; adds a FOIA exemption for records related to utilization review, credentialing, quality assurance by hospital authorities and other entities; also adds an open meeting exemption concerning discussion of those records. Approved in House General Laws, 16-6 (Del. McQuigg's motion to send the issue to the FOIA Council for further study was rejected on a voice vote, 10-9.) Substitute amendment offered on House floor, removing FOIA exemption. Passed by the House, 96-3.
NOTE: A "nay" vote on final committee action was a pro-access vote:
YEAS--Reid, Cox, Albo, McQuigg, Suit, Rapp, Wright, Oder, Marshall, D.W., Cosgrove, Abbitt, Phillips, Armstrong, Hull, Dance, Bulova--16.
NAYS--Jones, S.C., Saxman, Gear, Barlow, Ward, Tyler--6.
Verizon bill allowing phone companies to compete with local-franchise cable systems (see HB1404 for compromise)
Requires Virginia International Terminals to open its records and meetings to the public - in what would be a dramatic shift for an organization that has kept many of its operations secret for 25 years. Stricken by patron (Joannou wants the measure studied by the FOIA Council.)
Requires Virginia notification when there is a breach of security involving personal information in computerized data. Carried over a year.
Department of Minority Business: Includes FOIA exemption for "proprietary records." Tighter language proposed. See HB122.
Requires independent audits of statewide-campaign spending and random audits of 1 in every 10 legislative races. Approved in committee; rereferred to House Appropriations; carried over a year.
Requires Virginia notification when there is a breach of security involving personal information in computerized data. Provides recovery of triple actual damages from violators of notice requirements; also provides for possible action by the attorney general. Carried over a year.
Repeals long-standing exemption that newspapers, magazines and other publications currently have from imposition of a business and professional occupational license (BPOL) tax.
Killed in House Finance subcommittee (related media tax bill HB578 shelved by Wardrup)
Cable industry/telephone company compromise. Approved, signed by governor.
Record exemption for the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. Approved.
Meeting exemption for Virginia Ports Authority, for discussion of records already exempt from disclosure. Approved.
Charter university legislation; includes reaffirmation of FOIA rules. Approved.
Restricts use of Social Security number over the Internet. Carried over, referred to Joint Committee on Technology and Science.