FOIA Opinions by Topic
Opinions by topic: Opinions Relating to Records
(List all topics)
- FOI Advisory Opinion AO-01-13 (1/7/2013): Generally, records submitted by a private company to a state agency as required by regulation are public records subject to FOIA. Marking such records proprietary and confidential does not, by itself, make them exempt from mandatory disclosure; records are only exempt if there is a specific provision of law that allows them to be withheld.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-12 (12/10/2012): Considering three different records exemptions, an adult arrestee photograph (mug shot) may not be withheld as a noncriminal incident record; may be withheld if its release would jeopardize a felony investigation; and may be withheld if the subject depicted is also a witness.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-12 (10/17/2012): A telephone billing record paid by a public official in his personal capacity that was not prepared for or used in the transaction of public business is not a public record subject to FOIA. Such a telephone billing record is not paid with public funds, only indicates that a call was made (it does not reveal the contents of the call or who made it), and is prepared by the service provider in order to receive payment as part of a commercial transaction.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-11 (4/25/2012): Summarizes the requirements for making and responding to a FOIA request. Clear communications between the parties are essential. Public bodies are reminded to provide one of the five responses required by statute.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-12 (4/25/2012): A public official may only charge his or her rate of pay as a public official, not as a private employee, when responding to requests for public records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-12 (4/11/2012): In responding to a request for public records, a public body is responsible to provide the public records prepared by, owned by, or in the possession of the responding public body. When it provides all such responsive public records that it has, no additional response is required under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-12 (4/11/2012): 911 records are public records under FOIA. Whether any exemptions apply to 911 records must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-11 (10/17/2011): Adult arrestee booking photographs (mug shots) are public records subject to FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-11 (9/15/2011): The attorney-client privilege exemption must be narrowly construed. If a record contains both exempt and non-exempt material, only the exempt material may be withheld. Whether a record is exempt depends on the contents of the record and the existence of a specific legal provision that allows the record to be withheld.
- Saltville v. Surber (9/5/2011): Judge in Saltville reviewed under seal several documents related to a former town employee. He eventually ruled that some of them must be released to a newspaper, over the former employee's objection, and that others did not have to be released because they did not discuss public business. Read the full final order here.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-11 (8/31/2011): Section 40.1-11 of the Code of Virginia exempts certain records of the Department of Labor and Industry from mandatory disclosure under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-10 (11/19/2010): For the purpose of the definition of public records, the meaning of in the transaction of public business must be examined on a case by case basis. FOIA does not mandate how to perform a search for records, but any search that is conducted must be carried out in good faith.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-10 (2/1/2010): Records that have been entered into evidence and made part of the public record at a public hearing may not subsequently be withheld from disclosure as exempt records of a criminal investigation or prosecution.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-09 (12/16/2009): The Virginia State Bar is a public body subject to FOIA. A task force created by a public employee to advise that employee is not a public body. Records in the possession of a public body or employee in the transaction of public business are public records. Questions regarding constitutional separation of powers are beyond the statutory authority of the FOIA Council. Public bodies do not have to create records that do not already exist in order to respond to a records request, but must inform the requester that the records do not exist.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-09 (11/25/2009): Certain portions of FOIA's criminal records exemptions are currently limited to use only by local law enforcement agencies, not the State Police.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-09 (8/3/2009): Public records posted on a public body's Web site remain subject to FOIA. It is generally expected that public bodies will not charge for sending brief electronic mail messages providing Web addresses or copied excerpts of electronic records, as the actual costs incurred usually are negligible.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-09 (6/9/2009): Without a prior agreement, when a requester asks for records to be sent via e-mail, the government cannot bill the requester for the cost and mileage involved with delivering the records via certified mail.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-09 (3/31/2009): Scholastic records, by definition, are those records which contain information directly related to a student and maintained by a public body that is an educational agency or institution or by a person acting for such agency or institution. A denial of a records request must cite the specific Code section that authorizes the withholding of the records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-09 (3/25/2009): The Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia is an agency of the Commonwealth supported wholly or principally by public funds; opinion also address response time, and failure to respond properly.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-08 (11/18/2008): A record that is not prepared, owned, or possessed in the transaction of public business is not a public record subject to FOIA. When conducting private business, public officials and employees (in this case, a university law professor) should avoid indicia, such as agency letterhead, that make private records appear to carry the imprimatur of a public body.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-08 (10/16/2008): FOIA provides that public bodies bear the burden of proof to establish an exemption by a preponderance of the evidence. However, FOIA is silent regarding whether a requester may challenge as an abuse of discretion a decision not to disclose records that are excluded from mandatory disclosure pursuant to a valid exemption, once the exemption has been established.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-08 (6/18/2008): Failure to respond to a request for records is deemed a denial of the request and a violation of FOIA. Clear communications are essential to FOIA transactions.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-08 (5/19/2008): Records concerning general law enforcement policy matters must be disclosed, but records specifying how policy will be implemented, i.e. the methods by which officers will conduct investigations, may be withheld as records of investigative techniques or procedures.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-08 (5/5/2008): FOIA does not require a public body to provide records, or portions thereof, that are not responsive to a request. Implementing a universal security policy requiring all visitors to present identification before entering a public building does not inherently exclude the public from attending public meetings which may be held therein.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-08 (3/19/2008): FOI Advisory Council discusses exemptions on vendor proprietary records, security system manuals, and school safety audits. Also discussed: duty of government to seek clarification if records request is confusing; failure to identify the volume of records requested that are subject to an exemption; and improperly denying records based on the sheer volume of the request.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-08 (3/7/2008): Weekends and legal holidays are not counted as working days when computing the five working day time limit for a response to a request for public records. A public body must inform a requester in writing when it does not have the records the requester seeks. Clear communications are essential to the operation of FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-08 (2/21/2008): Records concerning a public body's employment policies are open to disclosure. If a public body is unsure of the scope of a request, it should contact the requester to clarify the matter. A failure to respond to a records request is deemed a denial of the request and a violation of FOIA.
- Rivera v. Long (Virginia Supreme Court) (2/8/2008): Where the Social Security numbers are redacted from voter registration application records, the documents will no longer be exempt from inspection.
- Davis v. City of Chesapeake (Chesapeake Circuit Court) (11/20/2007): The Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act is not an exemption to FOIA's disclosure requirements. City may not charge for summary/abstract of record without first reaching an agreeement with the requester.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-07 (10/29/2007): If a public body denies a request for public records in whole or part, it must send the requester a written response citing the law that allows the records to be withheld. The release of certain Department of Social Services records pertaining to child support enforcement matters is prohibited by law under Title 63.2 of the Code of Virginia.
- Fenter v. Norfolk Airport Authority (Virginia Supreme Court) (9/14/2007): Norfolk Airport Authority's response that it had forwarded a citizen's FOIA request to the Transportation Security Administration did not meet the standards of any of Virginia FOIA's required responses.
- Attorney General's Opinion 2007 #068 (9/4/2007): Virginia Retirement System can withhold information private equity firms provide the system on its structure, portfolio or strategy.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-07 (7/13/2007): FOIA allows a public body to charge for existing records. FOIA does not address what a public body may charge for additional access features beyond inspection and copying of existing records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-07 (5/7/2007): The student government of a public institution of higher education is a public body subject to FOIA. The branches of student government are analogous to the organization of government generally (i.e., legislative, executive, and judicial). (Several other related issues discussed.)
- Attorney General's Opinion 2007 #027 (4/6/2007): List of concealed-carry gun permittees should be kept confidential by the state police because it might contain names of crime victims or witnesses.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-07 (3/14/2007): A public body may charge for the actual cost of staff time spent redacting records in response to a request. It may not charge any additional fee for a separate legal review of the same records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-07 (3/14/2007): An electronic mail message header showing the time and date when the message was received by a public body may not be withheld as documentation or other information that describes the design, function, operation or access control features of any security system under subdivision 3 of Ã‚§ 2.2-3705.2.
- Rivera v. Long (Norfolk Circuit Court) (on costs and attorneys' fees) (9/27/2006): Judge rules on cost prevailing plaintiff should pay for copies of general registrar's records, as well as on attorneys' fees for the plaintiff's attorney.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-06 (8/22/2006): Animal licensing records are open to the public under FOIA and §3.1-796.86. Public bodies should not collect from citizens information that will become part of a public record unless such collection is required or necessary to the mission of the public body.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-06 (7/18/2006): American Society of Civil Engineers is not a public body because its funding comes primarily from grants. Records provided by the body to the Secretary of Transportation or the Department of Rail and Public Transportation would be public records, though. And because of intense public interest, the ASCE "might wish to consider opening the meetings to the public and/or publicly releasing meeting minutes."
- Rivera v. Long (Norfolk Circuit Court) (6/13/2006): General Registrar must disclose rejection letters written to applicants to vote. Actual applications may be withheld under state election law.
- Bland v. Virginia State University (Supreme Court, 6/8/06) (6/8/2006): In FOIA cases, complete set of records must be included on appeal to afford Supreme Court full review on the merits. Trial court erred in refusing plaintiff's motion to include full set of records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-06 (5/25/2006): A request for statutes and regulations granting legal authority to a public body is not a request for public records as contemplated by FOIA. FOIA expressly provides the procedure to follow if a public body needs additional time to respond to a request. A response that does not meet the procedural requirements of FOIA is not a proper response.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-06 (5/25/2006): Opining whether a FOIA provision violates substantive due process under the federal Constitution is beyond the authority of the FOIA Council.
- 911 tapes are public record, judge rules (4/17/2006): -- The public has a right to hear the 911 call made by a mother accused of killing her son, a judge ruled April 13.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-05 (1/10/2006): At present, there is no requirement for public body to tell records requester that the records asked for do not exist. If original records are legible, the copies should be, too. Publilc body cannot require requester to inspect records rather than copy them. Public body not required to recreate lost records or records no longer in its possession.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-05 (1/10/2006): If a public body elects to abstract or summarize records, it can only charge for such a newly created record after a prior agreement with the requester.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-05 (7/19/2005): Accident reports containing information on juveniles are not to be treated any differently than reports containing information on adults
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-05 (6/7/2005): Nothing in FOIA prohibits the release of the name of a juvenile shot and killed by a police officer, but §16.1-301 appears to serve as a broad prohibition against the release of law-enforcement records relating to juvniles.
- William H. Turner v. Virginia Board of Dentistry, Department of Health Professions, et al. (6/2/2005): Board of Dentistry meeting minutes were inadequate, did not include even a summary of the discussion on a particular subject and decision. Attorney fees awarded for FOIA violation. No wilful violation found.
- Albright v. Woodfin (5/26/2005):
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-05 (4/28/2005): a list of websites and keywords blocked by the school district's computer network firewall may be exempt from disclosure because those records may reveal the design and/or function of part of the school's security system.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-05 (3/30/2005): personnel files at most governmental agencies are available to the subject of the records, but not if the subject is the employee of an educational agency.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-05 (3/11/2005): Nothing in FOIA prohibits the release of the name of a juvenile shot and killed by a police officer, but §16.1-301 appears to serve as a broad prohibition against the release of law-enforcement records relating to juvniles.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-26-04 (12/22/2004): The Virginia Board of Bar examiners has discretion under §54.1-108 to withhold the passing score an individual made on the bar exam, even when it is the subject individual making the request. The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners can elect to withhold aggregate data on bar exam results under the board's broad grant of authority under §54.1-3922. The FOI Advisory Council does not have authority to determine whether an agency has abused its discretion in withholding information it is legally entitled to withhold.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-23-04 (11/2/2004): Citizen applications for a vacant board of supervisors seat are exempt from disclosure as personnel records. A public body may charge $6 for a two-page document if that reflects the actual cost to the public body to produce it.
- Wigand v. Wilkes (9/1/2004): Public television and radio station not a public body because less than two-thirds of funding comes from public money, and they do not perform a delegated governmental function.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-17-04 (8/31/2004): the working papers exemption does not expire unless the working papers are disseminated or otherwise made public by the official to whom the exemption applies. Absent such a release, a record created by or for one of the named officials for his personal or deliberative use retains the characterization of a working paper.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-18-04 (8/31/2004): registrar clerk erred by requiring requester to put verbal FOIA request in writing. Freedom of Information Advisory Council has no authority to investigate or enforce possible FOIA violations. Dispute over whether a record exists is a fact issue for a court to resolve.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-16-04 (7/23/2004): It appears that the intent of the law would indicate that if records do not exist, this should be stated in writing to the requester. once a deposit is requested from the public body, a requester does not have the right to demand that certain records that are believed to be easily accessible be provided immediately, before the deposit is paid, while still indicating that he wants a response to the entire request. Burden on requester to clearly indicate he is attempting to narrow a previous request, in lieu of that request. The practical perspective of dealing with the application of FOIA on a daily basis has taught [this office] that clear and concise communication between a requester and a government official -- relying on the requirements set forth in the law and not on editorial comment -- is often the best way to successfully resolve any concerns about a FOIA request.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-14-04 (7/19/2004): The exemption that allows withholding of personal information...concerning persons participating in or persons on the waiting list for federally funded rent-assistance programs applies only to the tenants' records, not the records of the contracts landlords enter into with local housing authorities.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-04 (7/14/2004): Personal records of a university theater department audition committee member are not disclosable under FOIA or FERPA, but any standardized evaluation forms must be released to the subject student. Records pertaining to audition guidelines or procedures would be available to anyone.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-04 (6/10/2004): Records of all investigations of the Department of Health Professions, and not just records of active investigations, are confidential, even to the subject of the records..
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-04 (5/17/2004): An outside attorney's bill to a locality must be disclosed under FOIA, though portions that reveal the substantive details of the attorney's representation may be redacted. FOIA does not require a verbal response to a request for information.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-04 (5/5/2004): When choosing to withhold records from disclosure, the specific statutory authority must be cited; reference to a legislative bill is not appropriate. The school safety audit exemption does not apply to the entire audit, only the portions revealing specific security vulnerabilities.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-04 (5/4/2004): A master plan document required to be submitted to a housing authority, that comes into the director's possession during the ordinary course of business, is not a working paper.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-04 (3/31/2004): Absent a court order, a public body cannot prohibit a citizen of the Commonwealth from making a FOIA request, or require her to make requests through her attorney.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-04 (3/19/2004): The Department cannot require you to pay charge that included charges for copies that you clearly did not request, and includes a charge for the benefits of the person that responded to your request, which is not an allowable charge. While FOIA does require the Department to provide you with records of the salary of Department employees, it does not require that benefits information also be made available. The Department could, at its discretion, withhold such information as a personnel record pursuant to subdivision A 4 of § 2.2-3705. In providing you the salary information, FOIA does not require the Department to create lists or spreadsheets including this information; providing you with individual records showing each employee's salary would satisfy the requirements of FOIA. While providing you with a spreadsheet of the salary information may be the most user-friendly format, the Department may not charge you for the creation of such a record without first reaching an agreement with you concerning the costs associated with its creation. The Department may still create the spreadsheets, absent an agreement, if it feels more comfortable providing the information in that format, but it cannot recoup these costs if you did not agree to it. Finally, the Department may not deny you the right to inspect the records on the grounds that you have not paid $207.50 because it did not estimate the charges in advance and request a deposit. Therefore, the records must be made available to you for inspection in accordance with your original request.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-04 (1/16/2004): Public body must follow FOIA's notice provision, even if planning to go into a closed meeting immediately; closed meeting can only take place within the context of an open meeting. Draft proposal between a city and a county over acquisition of water may be withheld under the exemption for contract negotations, if disclosure would jeopardize bargaining position; discussions of the proposal may also be held in closed session. Advisory Council uses subcommittee to identify a problem in FOIA and propose legislation to address it.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-04 (1/6/2004): The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, an interstate compact between Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, is subject to FOIA because the compact's terms says that Virginia law applies in cases raised under the compact. Public body may recoup costs of providing records. Records detailing legal advice given to public body may be withheld.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-27-03 (12/10/2003): In interpreting subsections (F)(1) and (G) of 2.2-3706, the General Assembly intended for records relating to criminal investigations and prosecutions to be exempt from public disclosure, whether such records are held by state or local law-enforcement officials.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-26-03 (12/8/2003): Like lists of books and quetsions asked of reference librarian, a record that showed the Web sites cisited on the Internet by a library may be exempt from disclosure.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-25-03 (12/4/2003): Documents relating to a public relations firm hired by Newport News to assist it and its lawyers during litigation over the King William Reservoir are not protected by the attorney-client privilege or the work-product privilege. The PR agency is not an agent of the firm in the first instance, and its purpose is not part of the litigation itself in the second instance.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-24-03 (10/23/2003): Not all Department of Corrections records containing information about procedures and protocols are automatically exempt under the security exemption, (A)(69). Without viewing the records, the council notes that the procedures and protocols related to the execution of prisoners by lethal injection and electrocution may be wholly exempt.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-21-03 (7/21/2003): If database is maintained in digital form, the records custodian cannot limit dissemination of the database to paper format only. Circuit courts cannot charge 50 cents per page for records subject to FOIA when those records are provided electronically; clerk could charge for search time and cost of computer disks.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-22-03 (7/21/2003): FOIA does not prohibit public bodies from regulating public comment period during open meetings. A public comment period rule prohibiting speakers from asking questions of the public body and its staff does not violate FOIA's allowance for records requests to be made verbally. FOIAC cannot render opinions regarding possible federal constitutional violations.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-20-03 (7/14/2003): When providing records that have already been assembled for easy public access, the government is not required to charge requesters anything for those records, much less the amount it cost to first compile the records for an earlier requester. Government does not have an obligation to lend out a CD of public records for requesters to make copies on their own, but it is not prohibited, and it facilitates FOIA's policy of access.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-19-03 (7/10/2003): Records held by Barnes & Noble relating to the management of pulbic university bookstores are subject to FOIA if the store is acting as the university's agent, but not if the store is acting as an independent contractor. University may not frustrate public policy of access to records on the transaction of public business by outsourcing them to independent contractors.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-18-03 (7/7/2003): A university student organization supported wholly or principally by public funds is subject to FOIA as an independent body; the parent university is not the custodian of the organization's records. It is recommended that a FOIA request made of a public body that is not the custodian of the records sought should be forwarded on to the proper custodian.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-16-03 (6/24/2003): School superintendent cannot redact portions of school safety audits when submitting to department of criminal justice services because another code provision, which is more specific, demands full disclosure of the report; thought the deparment of criminal justice services is the custodian of school safety audits submitted by school division superintendents, it is bound to release information on school vulnerability assessment components or security plans unless the school division has specifically designated those sections confidential under FOIA exemption.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-14-03 (6/9/2003): The Onancock Business Civic Association is not a public body when it is participating in the Main Street Program, despite needing the assent of the local governing body to participate, because the association is not supported in whole or in part by public funds; local government's consent does not create a principal-agent relationship requiring the association's records to be disclosed under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-03 (5/14/2003): City of Newport News' failure to provide one of the four enumerated responses to a FOIA request is a violation of the act; an action for mandamus or injunction may be pursued.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-03 (4/30/2003): An exception to the general rule that a public body does not have to create a record that does not exist is when the requested information is for employee salaries. General recommendation that public body and requester work together to clarify requests. General advice to compare information contained in records oneself instead of relying on public body to do it.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-03 (4/23/2003): A suicide report held by a police department is generally available as a noncriminal incident report, though personal, medical or financial information may be redacted.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-03 (4/3/2003): The Virginia State Bar's list of attorneys licensed to practice in the Commonwealth should be disclosed under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-03 (4/3/2003): A public body cannot charge a requester for the cost of compiling a requested record that had already been compiled for an earlier requester.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-03 (2/14/2003): The general results of an employee survey about working conditions should be released under FOIA, although those portions of the surveys that deal with identifiable individuals may be withheld as a personnel record.
- Attorney General's Opinion 2002 #149 (1/27/2003): confidential information provided to the Virginia Retirement System by limited partnerships in the private equity market may be exempt from disclosure under The Virginia Freedom of Information Act, provided such information meets the requirements of ÃŸÃ2.2-3705(A)(47) of the Act. Even though the Retirement System may deny public access to such confidential information, the Retirement System is required to provide to a valid requester under the Act the identity of any private equity limited partnership in which it invests and the amount and present value of such investments.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-03 (1/23/2003): Government body could not withhold personnel records pertaining to an employee subject to a disciplinary action from that employee, even if there was an active investigation in progress. Portions of the record not pertaining to that person could be redacted.
- Attorney General's Opinion 2002 #113 (12/19/2002): A commissioner of revenue may release names and addresses of businesses licensed in the locality. Information cannot be withheld just because it is going to be used for solicitation purposes.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-14-02 (11/12/2002): Though a public body may require a requester to pay a deposit for a request likely to cost over $200 to fulfill, the public body is also required to refund the requester the difference of any overestimate. Whether it is reasonable for a public body to maintain records in a manner that makes it hard to identify them or contracts for their maintenance with an expensive third party is a matter for the courts to decide.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-02 (10/31/2002): Prison records on procedures and policies may be withheld under exemption #69 only to the extent that release of the information would jeopardize the security and safety of the building or individuals. A prison could invoke the exemption to withhold records about how a body is transported out of the prison, but if it doesn't jeopardize safety and security, then probably not information about how an inmate's designee is notified of the prisoner's illness, injury or death.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-02 (10/30/2002): To claim the working papers exemption, a locality can have only one chief executive, such as the mayor or the city manager. The choice is based on the form of government and the charter, not a title. Whichever one it is, a locality cannot switch back and forth from one to the other.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-02 (10/16/2002): a list of delinquent real property taxpayers with parcel ID, legal description, and owner's name with mailing address is a public record under FOIA. If government maintains a record on a computer disk, a requester can agree to receive a requested record in that form and pay a reasonable cost for it, not to exceed the actual cost. Government has five days to make an intitial response to a FOIA request. FOI Advisory Council opinions are advisory only.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-02 (10/16/2002): The FOI Advisory Council does not have authority to interpret the First Amendment. A circuit court is subject to FOIA. If the clerk's office maintains a digital database of land conveyances, that database must be made accessible to a requester.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-02 (7/23/2002): Timesheets that reveal more than an employee's job classification and rate of pay are exempt as personnel records rather than open under the FOIA provision mandating disclosure of salary info for employees making more than $10,000 annually. The Library of Virginia's Records Management and Imaging Services classification of records does not affect their status as open or exempt records under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-02 (5/24/2002): A public body cannot include employee fringe benefits -- such as insurance, retirement and vacation benefits -- when assessing the fee charged for searching, retrieving and supplying records to a requester.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-02 (4/23/2002): Because no general exemption or agency-specific exemption under FOIA, nor a confidentiality mandate in the Virginia Public Procurement Act, applies, draft documents and other records related to the negotiation of contracts must be disclosed. Whether such disclosure would threaten the government's bargaining position is a matter to be taken up with the General Assembly.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-02 (3/27/2002): Expenditure records of the Department of Housing and Community Development are public records. Where detailed records exist, a summary of the information is not an acceptable response to a request for the actual records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 2002 #002 (2/25/2002): Library record showing which materials a minor has checked out and which materials are overdue are exempted from mandatory disclosure, even to the parent of the minor, library records exemption, #10.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-02 (1/16/2002): FOIA requires the release of records of position, job classification, official salary or rate of pay, and records of allowances or reimbursements for expenses paid. Records pertaining to the retirement of school employees may be withheld as personnel records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-49-01 (12/17/2001): A record custodian can, in his/her discretion, create a record where none exits, but he/she cannot charge the requester for the new document without prior notification. Nothing prevents and nothing requires one governmental entity to forward the records responsive to a requester's request to another governmental entity, however, the first entity cannot charge the requester for that action. A governmental entity may not charge a FOIA requester for the time it takes a clerk to calculate how much the requester will be charged. Whether a charge is reasonable is a question for the courts.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-50-01 (12/11/2001): A county administrator, as the chief executive officer of a county, can withhold correspondence between her and the board of supervisors under the working papers exemption.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-47-01 (11/13/2001): A school district's two-business-day advance notice for record requests comports with the general FOIA requirement that requests for information must be answered within five working days.
- Attorney General's Opinion 2001 #091 (10/31/2001): A commissioner of revenue may provide remote Internet access to the names of businesses licensed to do business in a locality.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-44-01 (9/7/2001): The name of a physician at a particular correctional facility is public information.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-41-01 (9/4/2001): Though a lcoal chamber of commerce is not a public body, records it keeps on tourism at the request and as an agent of a city council are subject to disclosure under FOIA. The chamber, not the city council is the custodian of the records where the city is not statutorily required to maintain tourism records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-42-01 (9/4/2001): There is no exemption in Virginia's FOIA, and apparently not one in the federal FOIA either, for a list of names of individuals who have requested records under either act.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-39-01 (8/16/2001): A public body cannot charge a request fee unless it has determined in advance that the fee accurately reflects the cost to search and provide a requested record.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-37-01 (8/6/2001): An agency remains the legal custodian of records it is mandated by law to maintain, even if it does not retain physical custody of the records.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-34-01 (7/24/2001): Neither a volunteer fire company nor a committee created to handle the company's finances are public bodies; the minutes taken by a non-public body nonetheless become public records when they are provided to a public body (such as a city council); a non-public body's financial records in the possession of a local treasurer are not public records; a public record cannot be withheld simply because the public body for whom the record is prepared has not yet received it; there is no FOIA requirement that a request for records be made in writing.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-35-01 (6/22/2001): Unlike an annual request to be notified of meetings, FOIA does not require a public body to honor a standing request for records; however, to ease the administrative burden of responding multiple requests, the body may want to honor the annual request.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-33-01 (6/14/2001): According to the federal Family Policy Compliance Office, even if a school/university has designated certain student information as directory information, it can still withhold the information in its discretion.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-32-01 (6/11/2001): The city manager cannot invoke the working papers exemption to protect draft budget proposals. Because those documents are routinely generated pursuant to another law, which characterizes them as the city council's property, during the ordinary course of business, they are subject to mandatory disclosure under FOIA.
- Connell v. Kersey (6/8/2001):
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-29-01 (6/7/2001): Parent is entitled to view school investigatory records relating to his/her child, but portions identifying other students, teachers or attorney-client privileged information may be withheld.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-30-01 (6/6/2001): A specific provision outside of FOIA prohibits the release of investigatory files by the Board of Social Work, even to the subject of the file.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-27-01 (5/31/2001): There is no blanket exemption preventing the Commissioner of Revenue from releasing any information; the legal name of a business on the commissioner's tax roles is subject to disclosure.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-28-01 (5/31/2001): Actions taken pertaining to a specific school employee may be withheld, but also may be disclosed; the name, salary and job assignment of school employees must be disclosed.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-25-01 (5/8/2001): Government entity may charge the actual cost, including an hourly rate for the time reasonably necessary, to fulfill an FOIA request.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-22-01 (4/27/2001): Attorney-client privilege exemption gives record custodian discretion to release as much or as little of exempt record to anyone; distribution to one person does not destroy the exemption.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-21-01 (3/27/2001): Regarding duty to explain how the actual cost of searching for records was calculated; consecutive requests must be treated separately; public body may require a deposit if cost of providing records would exceed $200.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-16-01 (3/26/2001): List of concealed handgun permit holders is a public record.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-17-01 (3/13/2001): With respect to the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund, records used for the governor's personal or deliberative use are exempt, but records related to how grants are awarded or loans made are subject to disclosure under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-15-01 (2/23/2001): The professional qualifications of a public official are considered part of that official's personnel record and thus may be withheld.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-01 (2/19/2001): Regarding directory information held by a school system and duties under FOIA when a requested record does not exist.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-01 (2/13/2001): Section 60.2-114(A) prohibits the release of audit information related to employer compliance with employee earnings requirements.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-01 (2/13/2001): Lists of businesses to whom licenses have been issued or lists of individuals or businesses on a locality's tax rolls are available under FOIA if they exist.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-01 (2/13/2001): A public body may charge $.25 per page for copies as long as that charge does not exceed the actual cost of providing the record.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-01 (1/31/2001): Videotapes taken from a camera mounted on a public school bus are not available for disclosure under FOIA or FERPA unless the written consent of every parent of every identifiable child is obtained.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-01 (1/31/2001): In consultation with legal counsel, the public body is the holder of the attorney-client privilege and so may disclose information it wishes; merely discussing an exempt document does not kill an applicable exemption.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-01 (1/24/2001): noncriminal incident police reports are available under FOIA, though police may excise personal identifying information; phone director of city employees, if it exists, is subject to disclosure under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-01 (1/16/2001): The personnel records exemption allows the withholding of personally identifiable information regarding a applicant's education and qualificiations; specific classes taken by city manager part of personnel record, too.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-01 (1/3/2001): The Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers may, under a FOIA exemption, withhold the names of applicants for licensure.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-21-00 (12/18/2000): The Erosion and Sedimentation Control Administrator for the Natural Tunnel Soil and Water Conservation District, when conducting an investigation to determine if a criminal violation of section 10.1-563 has been committed, could properly withhold the records of the complaints leading to the investigation.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-20-00 (12/15/2000): The annual report on the compensation plan being developed by the Department of Human Resources is a public record.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-11-00 (12/12/2000): public body not required to merge two separate databases to create a record containing the information sought by a requester; requester can ask for both databases and manipulate the raw data himself.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-00 (12/12/2000): once city council members acted on a report that was arguably part of the city manager's working papers, any exempt status is lost and the document becomes part of the public record.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-14-00 (12/12/2000): Complaints against identifiable individuals are exempt personnel records; settlement amounts are public records, but if a record listing all amounts paid does not exist, public body has no duty to compile such a list; reworded request may yield documents sought.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-17-00 (12/12/2000): An individual is entitled to his personnel record; general job classification and salary information of public officials is specifically available under FOIA.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-18-00 (12/12/2000): Death certificates, as vital records, are not covered by FOIA.
- Fisher v. King (11/14/2000): No 1st Amendment right of access to government-held information.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-00 (10/5/2000): The release of local license taxes assessed against any person, firm or corporation is prohibited by the Tax Code.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-00 (10/2/2000): A so-called master list of courses offered by a school during the next academic year, the times and who will be teaching them is a public record despite the list's possible revision by the administration.
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-01-00 (9/29/2000): Inquiries as to the status of e-mail under the Freedom of Information Act, charges for electronic records, the working papers exemption, assessment of fees for producing a requested record, the meaning of 'reasonable specificity'
- FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-00 (9/29/2000): property appraisal cards containing the calculations and methodology used in arriving at individual assessments are available through FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 2000 #058 (9/27/2000): Original marriage licenses and certificates maintained by a circuit court clerk are considered vital records open to public inspection; access to microfilmed copies are open to the public, too.
- Connell v. Kersey (5/23/2000): Commonwealth Attorney not a public body under FOIA. Criminal incident information need only be summarized; the actual records need not be disclosed.
- Shenandoah Publishing House v. City of Winchester (3/28/2000): Document given to city attorney by city manager is protected from mandatory disclosure as attorney-client privilege because it was prepared as part of an active administrative investigation in which legal advice was needed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #075 (2/17/2000): Under law as it existed prior to July 1, 1999, advance notice of a telephone meeting didn't need to list all locations from where telephone participation was to take place. Post-July 1, 1999, law says all locations must be identified.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #212 (11/22/1999): Though the fact of tax delinquency based on gross receipts is public, the amount, name and address of the delinquent taxpayer is exempt from FOIA by section 58.1-3.
- Lawrence v. Jenkins (11/5/1999): Not an FOIA violation when a public official chooses to exercise an exemption, redacted exempt information, but failed to timely cite the applicable Code section for the exemption.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1999 #017 (6/1/1999): The custodian of the records may place the burden for copying the records on the citizen making the request if the custodian has no system or computer database available that is capable of producing the copies.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1998 #005 (9/23/1998): A record's copyright status does not prevent it from being released under FOIA; lyric sheets and audio tapes are official records.
- Tull v. Brown (1/9/1998): Tapes used to record 911 calls are public records, but they are exempt as noncriminal incident information.
- Richmond Newspapers v. Casteen (7/24/1997): Materials that would nonetheless be official records standing alone may become exempt correspondence if they are transmitted to a qualified office as a letter.
- Capital Tours v. DMV (1/13/1997): FOIA does not require the production of trade secrets or proprietary information.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1996 #102 (11/11/1996): Bail and Recognizances: prior AG opinions described as public records commitment papers, continuance cards and other info relevant to making bail, extend to giving it to magistrates who ask for it.
- Coward v. City of Richmond (9/24/1996): A valid subpoena duces tecum is not a matter covered by FOIA.
- Wall v. Fairfax County School Board (9/13/1996): High school student election results are not official records subject to disclosure under FOIA.
- Redinger v. Casteen (1/18/1995): Letters exchanged between an institution of higher learning and a law firm representing a university student are not exempt as work product compiled for use specifically for litigation.
- Wheeler v. Gabbay (6/10/1994): FOIA and the discovery rules of the Supreme Court are mutually exclusive. Under FOIA, citizens are entitled to criminal incident reports that describe the criminal act.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1993 #221 (6/21/1993): No requirement for commissioner of revenue to reveal to public methodology used in determining fair market value for each particular property.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1993 #217 (6/9/1993): The names of current and past delinquent payers of business license taxes may be disclosed under FOIA, but not the amount of the delinquency.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1993 #001 (2/8/1993): Report prepared by the Auditor of Public Accounts (re: adequacy of accounting systems used by commissioners of revenue, directors of finance and other assessing officers) may be disclosed under FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1992 #157 (8/13/1992): The names of delinquent taxpayers may be released under FOIA, but the amount of delinquency may not.
- National Rural Utilities v. Greenlief (2/24/1992): The tax-exempt status of certain individuals is information that is exempt from disclosure under FOIA by virtue of the Tax Code's general prohibition against release of taxpayer information.
- James v. Division of Consolidated Services (2/18/1992): Va FOIA excludes evidence related to a criminal investigation unless needed for criminal defense.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1991 #081 (12/5/1991): FOIA doesn't block an otherwise valid subpoena duces tecum that asks for information that could be exempt under FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1991 #009 (12/5/1991): Names, qualifications, evaluations, tests used to evaluate, and how indidivual candidates fared under selection criteria all exempt. General selection criteria not exempt. Certificates issued by Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy regarding persons certified to work in mines must be disclosed.
- Taylor v. Worrell Enterprises (9/20/1991): The governor's itemized telephone bills are official records exempt from disclosure as memoranda, working papers or correspondence.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1991 #013 (6/21/1991): Files associated with an active investigation may be withheld, but do not have to be after the investigation is complete.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1991 #007 (3/7/1991): Citizen does not have a right to make a continuing request for records that do not yet exist.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1990 #009 (8/30/1990): Booking photos and mug shots are official records that must be disclosed.
- Lemond v. McElroy (4/20/1990): Documents generated in connection with the payment process of a settlement agreement, after the mutual agreement to settle, are open to public inspection.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1989 #017 (7/14/1989): University library not required to disclose; titles of books checked out, references questions asked, bibliographies prepared by staff by request, nor must the titles of books ordered by faculty.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1989 #013 (5/4/1989): Public body not required to compile a record, but must notify the requester within the required time.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1989 #012 (2/21/1989): FOI provision for reasonable fees can't include charges for a public employee to be present during review of records
- Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #033A (11/24/1988): Inmates' medical records need not be disclosed absent authorization from the inmate himself or herself.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #035 (11/22/1988): Settlement agreements may be memoranda, working papers or records prepared specifically for use in litigation - need not be disclosed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #030 (11/21/1988): A city/county attorney's itemized billing statement is an official record and must be disclosed to the extend it does not reveal confidential communication, or ongoing criminal investigation matters, or some other information that may be exempt. Reasonable charge for deletions may be made
- Associated Tax Service Inc. v. Fitzpatrick (9/23/1988): The purpose or motivation behind a request made under FOIA is irrelevant to a citizen's entitlement to requested information.
- Saunders v. Pethtel (9/14/1988): FOIA and the statute that allows inspection of competitive sealed bids are separate and distinct.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #033 (7/22/1988): Names and salaries of government employees making over $10,000/year are public and may be published by third parties.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1987-88 #037 (5/19/1988): Jail registers are open records, but some information in a so-called 'dispatch log' is confidential, as is some information in a so-called 'jail log.'
- Attorney General's Opinion 1986-87 #028 (5/30/1987): An offer-to-purchase letter is a record compiled specifically for litigation because it will be used in condemnation proceedings should the offer be refused.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1986-87 #283 (8/13/1986): Record custodian can take precautions to preserve/safeguard records; also can set limits on the use of the office where records will be inspected. Clerk of courtÄ…s deed receipts book and real property appraisal cards are open to inspection under the Tax Code.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1985-86 #333 (2/8/1986): HUD reports are exempt to the extent that they reveal information about identifiable employees
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #170 (3/21/1985): A death certificate, as a vital record, is not subject to disclosure under FOIA; however there is nothing to prevent someone with independent knowledge of a cause of death from commenting on it.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #420 (3/12/1985): Meetings to discuss employment terms and contract of school board superintendent are properly closed, but the action of employing the superintendent must take place in open session. Employment contract of school superintendent is open.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #313 (2/12/1985): Nothing in FOIA or the Tax Code prevents disclosing a list of names of delinquent real estate taxpayers.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #424 (11/9/1984): Reports filed in confidence with state or local police are exempt.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #428 (9/25/1984): As long as a copy of a record is available, thereÄ…s no requirement that the custodian convert the copy to another medium preferred by the requester.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1984-85 #425 (7/24/1984): FOIA does not define financial statements so common definition prevails. Certain IRS forms not within common definition, so it can be disclosed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #446A (5/8/1984): jail register or list of
those incarcerated is subject to disclosure, except for names of juvenile offenders
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #449 (3/21/1984): Personnel reports that do not identify employees must be disclosed. Teacher evaluations on school ratings are open if executive meetings exclusions are not present.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #420 (2/13/1984): Bank balances are official records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #446 (1/27/1984): Financial data of retailers collected by an institution of higher learning for purposes of business research or publication are subject to disclosure.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #439 (1/9/1984): Virginia Division of Tourism cannot withhold business data submitted by Virginia travel attractions. A private company that is supported wholly or principally by public funds is subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #113 (11/21/1983): There is no law requiring a separate accounting for expenditures of funds, though any documentation on it would be subject to FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #019 (11/15/1983): Report by the Psychiatric Advisory Committee is open to disclosure to the subject of the report.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #437A (11/15/1983): Principal's handwritten notes, used as a memory jogger, and anonymous letter are public records if used to transact public business. Subject of record can access it, regardless of possible exemptions.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #314 (9/6/1983): An exhibit is not automatically converted into a personnel record simply because it is introduced in a grievance procedure. FOIA and the Privacy Protection Act notwithstanding, a teacher has the statutory right to a private grievance hearing.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #447 (8/24/1983): General fund revenue estimates prepared by the governor's advisory boards are considered working papers of the governor; Governor's budget advisory boards must follow FOIA's meeting requirements.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #436 (7/25/1983): When determining the actual cost of providing copies, a public body may take into consideration (1) number of hours reasonably necessary to compile, copy and assemble documents, (2) cost of computer time used and (3) costs of reproducing the records. If a document is created at the request of a citizen, even though the public body may receive a benefit from having permanent use of the document, it would not be unreasonable to pass on the expense of its production to the requestor if the requestor were notified in advance of the estimated cost of preparing the document.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #731 (4/5/1983): When government employee is being paid two salaries for two different government functions, only the one that meets the statutory minimum for disclosure under FOIA need be disclosed.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #708 (3/7/1983): Employment contract detailing salary is an official record. Salary of incoming dean at William and Mary subject to disclosure, regardless of the existence of an employment contract.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #724 (2/15/1983): A draft management letter is an official record.Working papers exemption lost when chief executive officer distributes a document to others.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #709 (1/14/1983): Circuit court clerks files that contain certain pre-sentence reports and juvenile records are not subject to disclosure under FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #727 (12/15/1982): FOIA allows, and no other code provision prohibits, the release of the names, telephone numbers and business-type information of local business licensees.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #729 (10/21/1982): School superintendent is the chief executive office of the school board for purposes of FOIA. A report prepared for use at a properly called executive meeting loses any exempt status if the essence of the report is discussed in an open meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #707 (10/4/1982): The phrase submitted in confidence in the working papers exemption refers to reports submitted by those outside the agency, not to internal reports.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #726 (9/15/1982): A volunteer fire department is subject to FOIA if it is funded wholly or principally by public funds. Records regarding the suspension of a fire chief are confidential as part of the chief's personnel file.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #722 (9/10/1982): Tape recording of meeting is not an official record if used only as an aid for preparing written minutes.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1982-83 #711 (8/31/1982): Lists of unclaimed property held by the police are exempt from disclosure if they are part of a criminal investigation.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #440 (6/25/1982): Though using the entire period to release a readily available record is not a technical violation of FOIA, it probably violates the spirit of the law where release would not have any way hampered the orderly administration of government.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #379A (3/31/1982): Statistical information already accumulated by the commissioner of revenue may be released under FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #443 (3/25/1982): County-made maps are protected by copyright laws, and the county, as owner of the copyright has exlusive copying rights. County can charge no more than actual costs for making copies of maps.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #377A (3/5/1982): The business address and type of business license granted is not information protected from disclosure by the tax code.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #438 (2/1/1982): Newsletters prepared by county administrator summarizing issues to be discussed at the next board of supervisors meeting are official records open to the public, even if some of the topics are the proper subject of a closed meeting.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1981-82 #433 (8/3/1981): Neither applications nor the identities of those applying for nonpaying positions on public boards or commissions are exempt from disclosure as personnel records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #394 (3/20/1981): Public salaries over $10,000 subject to mandatory disclosure; salaries under $10,000 may be disclosed voluntarily.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #395 (2/26/1981): Official records routinely generated in response to various statutes do not become the working papers of the chief executive officer merely because they are passed on to that office in the ordinary course of business.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #391 (1/23/1981): Arrest warrants and attached papers containing breath analysis results are exempt under FOIA until executed, and not exempt once executed. Official forms used to record the results of breath analyses are excluded from FOIA when their use is restricted to the preliminary determination to charge suspected violators.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1980-81 #392 (11/6/1980): Records regarding the use of a sheriff's special account are official records,even if the account is not funded by the county or state, when the funds are used for a public purpose.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #389 (6/12/1980): Records of the identity of students participating in special education programs are exempt from disclosure under the scholastic records exemption. Nothing prevents intra-school board access to those records, though.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #385 (5/23/1980): Because nothing in FOIA demands confidentiality of any record or meeting, school board members-elect may attend executive sessions and review personnel records prior to taking office.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #301 (3/27/1980): Teaching certificates are exempt as personnel records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #377 (1/15/1980): Judge's notes on cases over which he/she currently presides exempt under the litigation exemption.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #270 (11/19/1979): Medical records exemption is discretionary, though the subject of the record may compel release to him-/herself or a designated doctor or attorney.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #387 (9/19/1979): A computer tape of a real estate assessments in an official record. County need not provide computer tape for citizen copying if tape is stored off-premises and a hard copy is available for public inspection in the county offices.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #386 (9/6/1979): Public body may require advance payment, as long as access is not unlawfully limited.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #378 (8/13/1979): School board may not use personnel exemption to discuss general personnel priorities in exeuctive session. Materials held exclusively by school superintendent are exempt working papers even if the superintendent has given a presentation to school board personnel using those materials.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #377A (7/30/1979): Fees not in excess of the actual cost of providing copies are allowable.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #236 (7/25/1979): Medicare and Medicaid cost reports are open records. Court rulings interpreting the federal FOIA do not apply to Virginia's FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1979-80 #384 (7/17/1979): Jail inmates are entitled to look at their own medical records that are otherwise exempt under FOIA.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #313A (6/18/1979): Building and zoning permits are official records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #313 (6/15/1979): Minutes or transcripts of a properly held executive meeting are exempt from mandatory disclsoure.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #317A (1/31/1979): a report to a public body becomes an official record when it comes in to the body's possession.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #315 (1/23/1979): financial statements city requires merchants selling goods in the city to file with its purchasing department are official records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #317 (12/20/1978): Records on a teacher's professional qualifications are personnel records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #318 (8/16/1978): The transcript of a Virginia Employment Commission hearing is a public record, but it exempt from mandatory disclosure by other code provisions.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #310 (8/15/1978): County must disclose salary of county employees earning more than $10,000.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1978-79 #311 (7/5/1978): records of the position, job classification, salary or rate of pay and expense reimbursements paid to officials and employees of the University of Virginia are subject to required disclosure.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #481 (5/24/1978): List of county employees enrolled in the federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act is an official record.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #493 (3/24/1978): papers prepared in response to a proposed zoning ordinance are official records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #486 (1/13/1978): Coupons clipped from a private citizen-paid newspaper ad and sent to individual supervisors are not official records. Any formal petition, however, would be.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #489 (1/12/1978): Salaries of identifiable employees may be disclosed. Financial interest statements filed with clerk of court are open.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #487 (1/9/1978): Birth records are not official records. Other code provisions generally prohibit their release.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1977-78 #309 (10/25/1977): Master list of restaurant and grocery store health inspections, and presumably the supporting files, are official records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1976-77 #315 (6/3/1977): Materials forwarded to individual school board members from the school superintendent are not exempt under the working papers exemption.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1976-77 #210 (5/20/1977): Letters of reference are not exempt funder FOIA, but the Privacy Protection Act does prohibit their release.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1976-77 #317 (3/22/1977): Salaries of identifiable employees need not be disclosed. Working papers of school division superintendent are exempt, but not similar papers held by the school board.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1976-77 #309 (9/7/1976): FOIA applies to the General Assembly and its clerks. The telephone recrods of General Assembly members are not exempt as working papers.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #576 (6/18/1976): Complaints filed with the county human rights commission and/or tenant-landlord commission are public records. FOIA provisions trump conflicting city ordinances.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #305 (5/28/1976): Scholastic record exemption still allows access to the students parents if the student is under 18, and to the parents and the student if he/she is 18 or older.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #415 (3/17/1976): Working papers exemption applies to county administrator, but not to the board of supervisors.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #284 (3/2/1976): Police departments must maintain arrest and investigative records until such time that the Library of Virginia determines they have no lasting value.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #412A (12/31/1975): Notes made by an official at the Division of Personnel on a federal government report about the operations and policies of the division are official records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #409 (11/18/1975): Citizens entitled to inspect or copy existing official records relating to matters before city council.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #414 (10/10/1975): conciliation agreements entered into by all parties in a complaint with the Human Rights Commission are official records subject to disclosure.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #410 (8/25/1975): Mere distribution of a letter during executive session without discussion does not violate FOIA, though the letter itself is an official record subject to disclosure upon request.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #418 (7/21/1975): Arrest warrant information is open for public inspection, provided such records are actually maintained by the sheriff's office.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #581 (6/25/1975): School-by-school results of scholastic achievement tests are open records.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #569 (6/20/1975): Person seeking enforcement of FOIA provisions carries burden of proof. Plaintiff must submit affidavit in support of petition for injunction
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #069 (6/4/1975): A copy of the county clerk of court's report on fees, commission and salaries is an official record subject to public inspection.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #583 (5/7/1975): Sheriff's jail books open for public inspection.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #580 (7/17/1974): Composite evaluation of school superintendent, made up of several individual evaluations, is exempt as a personnel record.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1974-75 #585 (7/12/1974): Teachers, and all publicly employed persons, have a right to view their own personnel file.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1973-74 #456 (4/3/1974): City job applicant is entitled to see his application and accompanying background report.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1973-74 #241 (10/1/1973): State police not required to provide copies or allow for inspection of accident reports filed with the DMV, though there's nothing to prevent an officer from vonveying the information verbally or from a person getting the report through the DMV.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1973-74 #412A (7/10/1973): Personal property roll books are not subject to the Tax Code's confidentiality provisions. Nor is a list of business licensees.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #498A (5/30/1973): Welfare, adoption and illegitimate birth records are not open under FOIA. Other code sections prohibit their release.
- Archer v. Mayes (5/5/1973):
- Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #495 (12/21/1972): Treasurer's records are open. Reasonable rules may be imposed on public inspection of records to ensure their safety. Person requesting record must state personal or legal interest in obtaining it.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1969-70 #317A (6/18/1970): Salary information on school board personnel is open, but there's no requirement that the information be complied.
- Attorney General's Opinion 1969-70 #317 (6/16/1970): Records on salaries paid to public employees open.
Making Your FOIA Life Easier
A seminar for state and local records managers at the Library of Virginia
800 E. Broad St., Richmond
Thursday, May 30, 2013
9:00 - 12:00
Click here for a paper registration form OR
(note: you do NOT need a PayPal account to use the PayPal payment page)
About the FOI Blog
Check out our blog for updates on VCOG's work, upcoming events, news and commentary.
Show most recent blog posts
List/search blog posts
FOIA Council Subcommittee on Rights & Responsibilities
FOIA Council Subcommittee on Electronic Meetings
Making Your FOIA Life Easier - a records management seminar
How Many Clicks?
VCOG surveyed all 134 Virginia counties and independent cities and asked,
"How many clicks does it take to get to your local budget?"
Now, click the owl and find out how YOUR locality ranked.
Drive your open government pride
Show your FOIA pride!
Get the new FOIA car magnet.