Current Headlines

Electronic Meetings: The future is not yet here

Two bills have been introduced in the General Assembly this year that would alter the rules governing when state or local governments can meet by electronic means. One would change the rules related to where a quorum of the public body's members must be, another would allow local and regional governments to take advantage of the rules currently reserved for use by state agencies. VCOG is opposed to both measures.

The Sunshine Report for January 2012

Check out stories on FOIA in the courts, a legislative preview, our annual conference and gala, and more.

The Economist: Sunshine or Colonoscopy

"Technology has certainly made putting arcane data online easier in recent years. But the real push for transparency has come from the scandals that often breed in opaque government.....Yes, most of the data are boring,... [b]ut journalists and think-tanks should have them, to browse and crunch and snoop. Freedom of information laws already do allow the press and the public to demand specific information. But the process is too cumbersome to hold governments to account." (The Economist)

Redaction: for obvious reasons

Onancock town manager/town attorney refuses to release unredacted copy of his employment contract, and says that the redaction of his signature and the date were done for obvious reasons. (Still trying to figure THAT one out!)

Project Vote case

Amicus brief of the U.S. government urging the 4th Circuit to affirm the Norfolk district court ruling that rejected voter application records are open to public inspection. VCOG has signed on to a different amicus brief that will be filed today (also urging the court to affirm). Click here for the U.S. brief.


VCOG is pleased to announce this year's winners for their contributions towards open government in Virginia: Jill Hill, The Roanoke Times and Dels. Jim LeMunyon and Mark Keam. Read about them here, and plan to attend VCOG's annual conference, where the awards will be presented. Learn more about the conference here.

E-meetings of the future?

An editorial in The Times of Smithfield says the Governor's proposal to change the way meetings can be conducted over phone lines is a bad idea because it compromises the honesty of face-to-face encounters.

Preferred photographers?

Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice and Richmond Free Press publisher agree to meet Sept. 19 to discuss the court's longstanding policy of allowing only one press photographer (from the Times-Dispatch) to take pictures at Supreme Court justice investitures.

No recording in Arkansas county

Arkansas county votes to prohibit video recordings of public meetings. The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act does not address the issue of video cameras, but does say people should be provided access to public meetings. Banning video is not listed as an exemption of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Arkansas Attorney General Opinion 83-213 said public meetings can be videotaped by private citizens.

Public Access to Investigative Records State-By-State

Thanks to VCOG's Laurence Richardson Intern, here's a quick-hit chart of how states across the country handle access to records in open and closed investigations.


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