Attending, Participating In and/or Recording

Attorney General Opinion 15-020_Morris

A blanket prohibition against public comment at public meetings on "specific personnel or student concerns" and speech identifying school officials or employees violates free speech principles, as does a prohibition against all "personal attacks."

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-13

FOIA is silent regarding the logistics of holding a public meeting. In a situation where the meeting room lacks the capacity to accommodate all those who wish to attend, the best practice is to move to a larger venue and use technology to increase public access, when possible.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-12

Subsection F of § 2.2-3707 requires that agenda packets be made available for public inspection at the same time they are furnished to members of the public body

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-09

Boards of equalization are public bodies and are required to keep minutes of their meetings. Even before law takes effect July 1, 2009, minutes should be in writing. Audio recordings cannot be a substitute. Votes must be recorded, though those who vote need not be identified.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-08

FOIA does not require a public body to provide records, or portions thereof, that are not responsive to a request. Implementing a universal security policy requiring all visitors to present identification before entering a public building does not inherently exclude the public from attending public meetings which may be held therein.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-10-05

Study commission appointed to advise public body is also a public body. Public body may impose restrictions on placement and use of recording devices, but may not prohibit recording.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-21-04

FOI Advisory Council lacks statutory authority to determine whether the Americans with Disabilities Act would allow sensory or physically disabled members of local public bodies to meet via electronic means when FOIA squarely prohibits it.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-22-03

FOIA does not prohibit public bodies from regulating public comment period during open meetings. A public comment period rule prohibiting speakers from asking questions of the public body and its staff does not violate FOIA's allowance for records requests to be made verbally. FOIAC cannot render opinions regarding possible federal constitutional violations.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-03

when examining rules adopted by public bodies governing the placement and use of recording equipment, one must examine the rules on a case-by-case basis to determine the practical implications of their application. Construing liberally the right of the public to record meetings, rules may be imposed to prevent interference with the meeting, but not in such a way as would essentially prohibit a recording from being made.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-16-02

A local body may not meet by any kind of electronic means; all participating members must be physically assembled in one place. The public, however, may participate in a meeting via electronic means.

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