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Who should judge shock

by Jamison Shabanowitz, Laurence E. Richardson Legal Intern for 2013

Earlier this month, the public learned of the communication between the Virginia Attorney General’s office and the lawyers representing two gas companies, EQT Production and CSX Gas, related to the battle over royalties for methane gas in Appalachian coal seams. Bristol’s Herald Courier has posted the relevant emails on their website.

Officials are citizens, too

Tom Jackman article in today's Washington Post covers the simmering controversy over the flash-in-the-pan logo for Prince William County.

Here's the breakdown:

Follow-up to VCOG's "How Many Clicks?" Survey

What we gained. What we learned. And how government transparency is an ongoing conversation.

Beating the CHP deadline?

What are people doing prior to the July 1 effective date of the new law banning release of concealed handgun permit applications?

Transparency disconnects

Anyone who looks at any Virginia newspaper or website has seen the articles by now recapping the in-person meeting of gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) at the annual fundraiser for the Virginia Public Access Project.

"Confidential"

Good piece today in the Daily Press about York County facing a $7 million tax refund bill if the owners of a defunct area refinery win their tax abatement appeal.

The issue came to light because of an email obtained by a York County resident through a FOIA request. The resident forwarded it to the paper, and the story soon followed.

Questionable answers (and questions)

In my job, I get to hear from folks all over the state, usually when they've been denied a request for records. This week alone I've heard.....

My public record: I'm mad as heck at McBurney opinion

Dear justices of the United States Supreme Court -

Your ruling Monday did not surprise me. You said that it's OK for Virginia's FOIA to reject FOIA requests made by residents from other states. Virginia is for lovers, you said, but not for out-of-state FOIA requesters.

When business and government don't mix

A lot of ink has been spilled over the years about whether government can or should be run as a business. Whole political philosophies have developed in praise of or eschewing the notion. Personally, I don't know which side has it right, at least in terms of planning, management, budgeting, etc. But I do know one area where the two don't mix, where government cannot and should not be operated like a business: access to public records and, particularly, public meetings.

Public input was CHP bill casualty

Yesterday, the governor signed a bill that will conceal all concealed handgun permit applications. Supporters rejoiced. Open government groups did not. In the process, my opposition is deemed "leftist anti-gun lunacy."

It is nothing of the sort. I just don't believe that the government -- specifically the courts -- should be able to administer a government-mandated permitting process in total secrecy.

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