Attorney General's Opinion 1975-76 #409

November 18, 1975

Member, House of Delegates

75-76 409

You request my opinion regarding the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act as follows: "When is a citizen entitled to obtain information relating to matters that are before the Lynchburg City Council?"

Section 2.1-342(a), Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, provides: "Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all official records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizens of this State during the regular office hours of the custodian of such records. Access to such records shall not be denied to any such citizen of this State, nor to representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in this State, and representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into this State; provided, that the custodian of such records shall take all necessary precautions for their preservation and safekeeping." (Emphasis added.)

Citizens may, therefore, review and copy official records relating to matters before Council during the regular business hours of the office or agency responsible for maintaining such records. It should be noted, however, that the provisions of §2.1-342(a) require only disclosure of records. There is no requirement that the custodian of such records prepare or supply information other than that which is contained in official records maintained by such offices.