Megan Rhyne's blog

Discussion is good

In an excellent editorial published in late April, the Daily Press criticized the Hampton City Council’s recent changes to the citizen comment period of public meetings.


The Daily Press didn’t fault the city for wanting to improve the meetings’ efficiency, or to eliminate personal attacks or the rehashing of past decisions. The newspaper’s complaint instead was this: “governing bodies that don’t engage the public during the public input parts of their meetings.”


FOIA: it doesn't matter who you are

Prince William County resident Mark Hjelm finally got his day in court April 14. And it was a pretty good day.


The aftermath, well, that’s not so pretty.


Hjelm has been locked in battle with the Prince William County School system for the past few years over Hjelm’s FOIA request to view visitor log data from the district’s Raptor visitor-identification system.


FOIA: political weapon, citizen tool

FOIA isn't something most people think about day in and day out. I remember the Virginia FOIA Council's Maria Everett once saying something to the effect of, "No one grows up wanting to be a FOIA geek." True that.

But it is funny to me, as a card-carrying FOIA geek, how FOIA suddenly becomes the best friend of elected officials when they realize it can be used to perhaps gore the other side's ox.

Working the edges

Working the edges By Megan Rhyne


1. Prior to a city council meeting, Councilman A huddles with Councilman B, talking, nodding and gesturing. Councilman B then goes over to Councilman C, again talking earnestly. Councilman B, then goes to Councilman D, then Councilman E, then Councilman F, where similar conversations take place. The meeting starts, and when it comes time for a contentious issue to be discussed, the council surprises everyone by foregoing discussion and immediately voting on the matter.


Sunshine Week article/editorial roundup

  • Watching Richmond politics unfold in person or on the General Assembly’s Web site is complicated, but one man has made getting informed simpler Waldo Jaquith, the Albemarle County resident behind the 3-year-old legislative tracking Web site Richmond Sunlight (, spends his nights and weekends keeping up the aggregation site and giving people a place to discuss bills. (NOTE: Jaquith is a VCOG board of dire

Legislators' voting records

UPDATE: The bill was effectively defeated in committee this morning. Lawmakers voted to "continue" the bill until 2011. Sens. Houck and Quayle voted against the motion. HB 778 is up for consideration by the Senate Rules Committee on Friday, March 4, at 9 a.m.

On the General Assembly's Web site, you can currently find out which legislators voted for or against a particular bill. Unfortunately, there's no manageable way to find out how one particular legislator voted on any number of bills.

Threat Assessment Team bills -- campus confusion

Following the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, the Virginia General Assembly mandated that public universities set up Threat Assessment Teams (TATs) to identify and evaluate students, staff or faculty who might pose a threat to the campus communities.

The teams are made up of representatives from student affairs, law enforcement, human resources, counseling services, residence life and others as may be needed.

Three cheers for Wise County Clerk of Court

Note: Wise County Clerk of Court, Jack Kennedy, served on the VCOG board of directors for several years.


Offered February 4, 2010
Commending the Wise County and City of Norton Bar Association and the Clerk of Circuit Court for Wise County and the City of Norton for their leadership and innovation in information technology in judicial administration.
Patrons-- Kilgore and Phillips

Crossover at the 2010 General Assembly

At Crossover:

Despite the huge number of access-related bills that were on the table as the 2010 General Assembly session started, through consolidation, referrals to study commissions and, of course, the axe, that number has been cut nearly in half.


Subscribe to RSS - Megan Rhyne's blog