Attorney General's Opinion 1983-84 #441
VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. EXECUTIVE MEETINGS. DEFINITIONS.
ACT DOES NOT PROHIBIT TAKING OF MINUTES DURING EXECUTIVE MEETING, NOR
IS TAPE RECORDING BY MEMBER AT SUCH MEETING PROHIBITED.
January 27, 1984
The Honorable Joseph L. Howard, Jr.,
County Attorney for Washington County
This is in response to your request for an opinion whether any
provision of the Code of Virginia would prohibit a member of the
board of supervisors from tape recording a duly called executive
meeting of the board.
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act, § 2.1-340 through
§2.1-346.1 of the Code of Virginia (the "Act") defines an
"executive meeting" as "a meeting from which the public is excluded."
§ 2.1-341(c). Section 2.1-344 specifies the purposes for which
executive meetings may be held and the procedure involved. Although
§ 2.1-344 does not require that minutes be taken at executive
meetings, it does not prohibit the taking of such minutes. In fact,
the section implies that minutes will be taken, because in order for
anything proposed, discussed and voted on in an executive session to
become effective, it must be voted on at the public meeting and must
"have its substance reasonably identified in the open meeting " prior
to being put forward for a vote. See § 2.1-344(c). In order for
the substance to be reasonably identified in the open meeting, it can
be assumed that some form of notes or minutes may be kept at the
It is, therefore, my opinion that the Act does not prohibit the
taking of minutes during an executive meeting. Because recording is
an acceptable method of memorializing a meeting, it is reasonable to
conclude that the Act does not prohibit taping of an executive
meeting by one of the members present at the meeting. This conclusion
should not be construed to mean that such a recording is subject to
required public disclosure. See
1978-1979 Va. AG 313.
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