FOI Blog

We make FOIA harder than it should be

Between bad actors and dismissive attitudes, our FOIA law is being crushed

Was it necessary?

The Virginia Supreme Court weighs in on pandemic-era electronic meeting and potentially upends the apple cart



The General Assembly adjourned with many opportunities left on the table

The 2023 General Assembly adjourned Feb. 26 without a complete budget and without taking full advantage of legislation offered to make citizen access to records and meetings easier or better. There’s nothing super egregious, but there’s also not as much to get excited about, either.

After crossover, we need more votes for sunshine

It’s Crossover Day at the General Assembly. Surviving House bills make their last bid to cross over to the Senate, where they’ll meet Senate bills headed in the opposite direction.

Quite a winnowing has taken place until now. Of the nearly 70 bills that VCOG started tracking at the opening of the session, barely half that many remain.

Trust in me

Recently, a coach on my kid’s sports team was let go. It came as a shock to my kid (and to me), and my kid was very disappointed. This coach had been a real inspiration to my wee one and was consistently enthusiastic, upbeat and encouraging.

Because I am like I am, I sent a message to the powers that be (TPTB) expressing disappointment and asking for some kind of explanation that could be shared with parents and athletes.

October surprise: Two pro-public rulings from Virginia's top court

Over the past several years — heck, most of the 2000s — I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to celebrate a pro-public win on FOIA issues in the Virginia Supreme Court. Much less two. In one day. Unanimously. So, pardon me if I bask in the glow of yesterday’s rulings in Hawkins v. Town of South Hill and Daily Press v. Commonwealth.

Ivory towers, grass-roots accountability

This post original appeared on VCOG's Substack Newsletter, September 13, 2022

This isn’t a criticism, more of an observation: Our public institutions of higher education are technically state agencies, but they should act more like local public bodies. School districts.

Public records as history's first draft

This post originally appeared on VCOG's Substack newsletter, Aug. 31, 2022.


It’s not uncommon in our fractious political discourse for someone to hurl admonishments at foes that they must learn from history lest they be doomed to repeat it.

But how can we know history if we can’t even agree on what history is? Even without the acrimony or political axes to grind, there are many ways to view history, the same history, even.

Just don't

Yeah, hi, so, um, I pretty much just want to vent. Hope you’re OK with that. 

There’s a lot going on in the world today and I might be processing some subconscious feelings. But it might be that yesterday I had the pleasure of doing two presentations to the constituents of Pat O’Bannon, current chair of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors and member of the VCOG board of directors for at least 10 years.

April's shower of FOIA cases

April 2022 was a full month of FOIA cases that were filed or decided