Definition of Which Meetings Are/Are Not Subject to FOIA's Provisions

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-18

Discusses general open meetings requirements of public bodies and their committees as well as obligations of public bodies in response to a request for public records. A public body is not required to record open meetings itself but must afford the public the opportunity to record the meetings. A committee of a public body is not required to record minutes of an open meeting if the committee membership is comprised of less than a majority of the public body membership. While a public body must post a link on its website to any routine exemption policy for records, there is no requirement as to how that policy is formed or that the policy be contained in a physical policy document. A public body must state in writing the reasons why public records are not provided in response to a request for public records.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-18

The definition of "public body" includes, among other entities, "any committee, subcommittee, or other entity however designated, of the public body created to perform delegated functions of the public body or to advise the public body." A budget task force appointed by a school superintendent that advises the superintendent is not a "public body" under this definition.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-07-13

A committee or advisory group of a public body that performs a delegated function or advises the public body is itself a public body. A committee or advisory group created by an individual to advise that individual is not a public body. In either case, however, records prepared, owned, or possessed by the committee or advisory group in the transaction of public business are public records subject to FOIA.

Hill v. Fairfax County School Board

The Supreme Court of Virginia rules that the rapid and extensive exchange of emails leading up to a meeting is not itself a meeting triggering FOIA's requirements.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-11

A rescue squad which is a town department is subject to FOIA for records purposes, but is not subject to the open meetings requirements of FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-09

Section 15.2-2907 says that certain meetings that are or would be subject to review by the Commission on Local Government -- like consolidation and annexation discussions -- are not subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-09

A task force jointly created by multiple public bodies to advise them is itself a public body subject to FOIA. Likewise, a regional public body provided for by statute and established by the resolutions of several local public bodies is also subject to FOIA. Both must comply with the procedural rules for conducting public meetings.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-12-08

As a general rule, an individual member of a board, designated as a liaison to staff, is not a public body for meetings purposes. Records prepared, owned, or possessed by that member in the transaction of public business are public records subject to FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-06

There is no special exemption in FOIA for a joint committee of conference of the General Assembly to hold a closed meeting on a budget bill.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-13-03

Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority is a public body subject to FOIA. A press conference attended by a quorum of a public body or committee members representing the body is a meeting under FOIA. Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority may not deny media kits to citizens who request them. Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority may not exclude members of the public from press conferences held to announce public business. Employees of the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority may hold a private press conference without violating the letter of the law, but it would violate FOIA's spirit of openness.

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