(Posted 1/11/2011 by Megan Rhyne)
An interesting FOIA bill was filed yesterday by Del. Bob Marshall. In HB1722 Marshall proposes to add a requirement that
at the time of creation of any public record, the custodian of such records that are subject to FOIA shall designate whether the record is subject to FOIA's mandatory disclosure provisions or otherwise exempt from disclosure. The bill requires that such designation shall appear on the face of the record and be updated by the custodian in a timely manner in the event of any changes. Failure to make the required designation shall, upon receipt of a request for such record, waive any charge authorized under FOIA.
The bill goes on to reiterate a proposal mentioned in Marshall's other FOIA bill, HB 1457, that
in addition to the civil penalty under FOIA, a public employee found to have committed a willful and knowing violation of FOIA may be subject to other disciplinary action, including suspension, demotion, or termination of public employment.
(The bill is supposedly aimed at UVA and its resistance to releasing records relating to former employee Michael Mann's climate change research. That same records request has prompted Sen. Chap Petersen to offer his own bill limiting the powers of the AG by prohibiting the office from investigating academic research.)
What do you think of HB 1722? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
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