Attorney General's Opinion 1972-73 #494


Member, Senate of Virginia

72-73 494

This will acknowledge receipt of your recent letter in which you posed the following questions concerning the Virginia Freedom of Information Act:

"If an individual requests to be notified of the time and place of each meeting of a board of supervisors, a school board or any other public body on a continuous basis, is he entitled to these notifications?

"Does a public body have to vote to go into executive or closed session before each session when the body plans to hold several closed sessions in a row?"

In response to your first inquiry, it should be noted that §2.1-343 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, provides, in part, that "information as to the time and place of each meeting shall be furnished to any citizen of this state who requests such information." I am of the opinion that this provision when construed with the purpose of the Act and other specific provisions set forth therein with respect to public meetings, permits an individual to request the unit of government that he be notified on a continuous basis of the time and place of each meeting of said governmental body.

The answer to your second question must be stated in the affirmative. The purpose of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act is to ensure that all meetings of state and local governmental bodies shall be open to the public except where specific provisions to the contrary are provided. In availing itself of the provisions set forth in §2.1-344(a) of the Code with respect to closed meetings, the unit of government is required by §2.1-344(b) to vote in public prior to each such closed session and thereafter comply with the requirements of §2.1-344(c).