FOI Blog

UPDATED: Letter to governor re: Charlottesville rally information

VCOG urges the governor’s office to be more forthcoming with information related to the Aug. 11-12 Unite the Right rallies in Charlottesville.

Time should be on your side

By Shelley Kimball

Time. In the world of public records requests, this can be an obstacle both to the requester and the records custodian.

And this is not just an issue in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Tracking legislation at the General Assembly

By Megan Rhyne


(This is the second in a two-part series on tracking proposed legislation. Read the first part here.)


How to watch the General Assembly in action

By Megan Rhyne

(This is the first in a two-part series on tracking proposed legislation. Find the second part here.)

Digital tools for managing FOIA requests

By Jeff South

Overcoming recalcitrant bureaucrats isn’t the only challenge for people who seek public documents or data under the Freedom of Information Act.

Another challenge is managing your paperwork: crafting and filing your FOIA requests and tracking responses.

Fortunately, a bevy of online tools is available to help you with those tasks. Here is a tour of such resources, building on a presentation I gave at VCOG’s Pop-Up Sunshine event in March.

Strong words on FOIA violation

We’re all winners and losers with Abingdon’s recent FOIA ruling

Bristol Herald Courier editorial, August 20, 2017

Strategies for finding and using public information

By Dave Ress

For the record (as we like to say).

We call it the Freedom of Information Act in Virginia, but it’s good to remember that it’s about information that’s in a public record or revealed in a public meeting.

One thing that can really help get information, as Cherise Newsome points out in her excellent post, is talking to the FOIA compliance officer about what you’re trying to find out.

Court rulings ignore common practice

Once again, a court has looked at an isolated provision of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and decided that it means something completely different from what had been commonly accepted in the past.


Nuisance requests an obstacle to access to public information

By Shelley Kimball

There are certain kinds of requests for records that access professionals hate so much they wish they could find ways to outlaw them. Requests that frustrate them so much they wish they didn’t have to respond to them. Let’s call them nuisance requests.

A view from both sides of a FOIA request

Truth in the Field

By Cherise Newsome

There are two sides to every FOIA request. I’ve seen them both.

As the public information officer for Portsmouth Public Schools, I serve as our FOIA compliance officer. Therefore, I manage the requests that come into the school division. I’ve been here about six months, and I’ve logged more than 50 requests of various complexity.