More Harmful Freedom of Information Act Bills Introduced

January 20, 2017

Delegate Rick Morris submitted two measures dealing with FOIA that will affect local governments. HB 2401 (Morris) mandates that minutes be taken in all closed meetings and also provides that audio recordings of all closed meetings be made. The bill is silent as to who can access these notes and recordings and what process can be used to access them. This bill will have a chilling effect on appropriate discussions in closed meetings and concerns about secure storage, archiving and access to these materials.

HB 2402 (Morris) provides that if the court finds that any officer or employee of a public body receives a request for records that was sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and without legal excuse or justification, deliberately, willfully, and knowingly fails to make a response to such request, such officer or employee may be terminated for cause by his appointing authority or agency head.

These bills will be heard Thursday, January 26, in House General Laws Subcommittee 2.

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VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, CAE

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