Transparency News 1/7/20



January 7, 2020


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state & local news stories



Dozens of bills were posted yesterday, and even more are expected today and tomorrow. Notable in yesterday's batch are HB 609 and HB 671, identical bills that VCOG developed with the patrons, Del. Mike Mullin (D-Newport News) and Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach). The bills would place the court system's administrative arm (the Office of Executive Secretary) under FOIA. The OES has declared itself exempt from FOIA and created its own set of rules for accessing non-case records.

Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) is also offering a bill to require the OES to put nonconfidential information for adult criminal cases in the juvenile and domestic relations district courts publicly viewable in the online case information system.

Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) has offered a bill aimed at the cost of scholastic records  requested by a parent.

Read about these and other bills on VCOG's legislative bill-tracking chart.

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Circuit Court Judge Douglas L. Fleming, Jr. on Friday denied the Town of Leesburg’s request for an extension in answering a Freedom of Information Act request for information about Microsoft’s proposed data center near town, and ordered that information would not be covered by a non-disclosure agreement approved by the Town Council Nov. 26. According to Fleming’s order, the town had until 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6 to provide Dave Gregory, the owner of the 131-acre Graydon Manor property, with the information he sought in a Freedom of Information Act request—information related to how much excess capacity the town’s sewer system contains and how much sewer service Microsoft requested from the town. “Such documents shall not be covered or protected by any non-disclosure agreement entered into between the Town of Leesburg and Microsoft Corporation, or any related entity,” Fleming wrote in his order. Gregory said he made the FOIA request because he wants to know how much sewer service the town intends to provide Microsoft. Gregory said that, while he’s confident the town’s response to his FOIA request this afternoon will contain redacted information, which could put both parties back in front of a judge, he’s hoping the matter won’t be too dragged out. “We are in it until it’s done,” he said.

Those who filed a petition seeking the Warren County Board of Supervisors’ removal from office have three weeks to file an amended complaint. The petition, which was filed in October, states that all of the supervisors should be removed due to their lacking oversight of former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Executive Jennifer McDonald, who has been charged on 32 felony counts related to alleged financial improprieties during her decade-long employment. The petition was filed about three weeks after the then sitting supervisors were indicted on misdemeanor counts of misfeasance and nonfeasance, charges that have been dismissed because they were not actual crimes.
The Northern Virginia Daily


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Bristol Herald Courier staff members brought you the defining local stories of 2019. You, our loyal readers, helped make this happen. The Herald Courier published more than 2,800 stories and 1,000 photographs produced by staff members in 2019. You, the reader, contributed to this Opinion page. We published 290 of your letters to the editor. Below are even more examples of in-depth journalism that Herald Courier staff members produced for you in 2019: » Marion site has the only state mental health graveyard in far Southwest Virginia. » Rise in unclaimed bodies stretches budgets of several counties. » Debit cards used for lotto sales in Virginia, but not Tennessee. » A look back at a fatal military jet crash on Holston Mountain. » There are military training flight routes within miles of Tri-Cities.
Bristol Herald Courier