FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-11

Summarizes the requirements for making and responding to a FOIA request. Clear communications between the parties are essential. Public bodies are reminded to provide one of the five responses required by statute.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-12

In responding to a request for public records, a public body is responsible to provide the public records prepared by, owned by, or in the possession of the responding public body. When it provides all such responsive public records that it has, no additional response is required under FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-09

Public records posted on a public body's Web site remain subject to FOIA. It is generally expected that public bodies will not charge for sending brief electronic mail messages providing Web addresses or copied excerpts of electronic records, as the actual costs incurred usually are negligible.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-08

FOIA provides that public bodies bear the burden of proof to establish an exemption by a preponderance of the evidence. However, FOIA is silent regarding whether a requester may challenge as an abuse of discretion a decision not to disclose records that are excluded from mandatory disclosure pursuant to a valid exemption, once the exemption has been established.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-08

Failure to respond to a request for records is deemed a denial of the request and a violation of FOIA. Clear communications are essential to FOIA transactions.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-08

FOI Advisory Council discusses exemptions on vendor proprietary records, security system manuals, and school safety audits. Also discussed: duty of government to seek clarification if records request is confusing; failure to identify the volume of records requested that are subject to an exemption; and improperly denying records based on the sheer volume of the request.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-08-06

Animal licensing records are open to the public under FOIA and §3.1-796.86. Public bodies should not collect from citizens information that will become part of a public record unless such collection is required or necessary to the mission of the public body.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-06

American Society of Civil Engineers is not a public body because its funding comes primarily from grants. Records provided by the body to the Secretary of Transportation or the Department of Rail and Public Transportation would be public records, though. And because of intense public interest, the ASCE "might wish to consider opening the meetings to the public and/or publicly releasing meeting minutes."

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-06

Opining whether a FOIA provision violates substantive due process under the federal Constitution is beyond the authority of the FOIA Council.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-25-04

FOIA requests and responses should be clearly communicated and shold avoid editorial comments so that the process does not become adversarial. Minutes of state agencies created prior to July 1, 2004, may be inadequate representations of what transpired in a meeting; a public body is not required to recreate the actions of a pre-July 1, 2004, meeting in revised minutes.


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