Transparency News, 11/17/20


 November 17, 2020
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state & local news stories
The FOIA Council announced three upcoming subcommittees.
@ 11 a.m. Phishing Study Subcommittee
@ 2 p.m. Criminal Incident Information Subcommittee
@ 2 p.m. Electronic meetings
Use this link to view meeting agendas and to sign up to give public testimony.

Do you prefer public meetings where members of a public body are present with you or ones where only a quorum (and a different quorum at that) is present and the rest of the members are calling in from places unknown? Ones where occasionally a member participates by phone because he or she has a family or job emergency or ones where a member never shows up to meet with the rest of the board members or the public? That's what a slew of form letter writers are urging the FOIA Council to allow Wednesday during a subcommittee meeting to consider whether call-in rules should be slightly relaxed to allow it to happen more often. More often, we can work with. Any time, anywhere? We can't.

The Virginia House of Delegates will meet virtually to do its legislative work when the chamber gathers in January, a decision its leader said was fueled by the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Virginia and around the country. The legislative session, which starts Jan. 13, will see lawmakers continue to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic. Democrats, newly in the majority as of January 2020, also have a list of goals left unfinished during the regular and special sessions. House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, said the work will be done virtually out of concern for the safety of members and staff. Immediately after Filler-Corn’s announcement Monday, House and Senate Republicans wielded their minority power, saying they would not support any proposal to expand the length of the session from the prescribed 30 days.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia lawmakers were feuding Monday after Democratic House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn announced plans for that chamber to again conduct its work remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic when it convenes in January. Shortly after the speaker’s office made the announcement, House and Senate Republican leaders said they would use a procedural move to limit the 2021 session to 30 days, rather than the typical, longer session Filler-Corn said she expected. Such a move could hinder the breadth of what Democrats, who have a narrow majority in both chambers and Ralph Northam in the governor’s mansion, are able to address.
Associated Press