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FOIA Council endorses legislative proposals for 2021 session

The FOIA Council met on December 2, 2020 to consider the work of its three subcommittees which studied Phishing, Electronic Meetings and Disclosure of Criminal Incident Information. The committee endorsed legislative proposals in all three areas of study. The Phishing legislation will likely be carried by Delegate Heretick who has been championing this matter.

The Electronic Records subcommittee recommended two legislative proposals. The first was a revised draft of Delegate Levine’s HB 321 from the 2020 regular session. This bill would allow a member of a public body to attend a meeting electronically if there is a physical quorum present, the public body has a policy allowing electronic meetings and they notify the public body that they are providing care to a family member with a serious medical condition that prevents the member’s physical attendance. This proposal would allow an individual member to participate electronically 2 times per calendar year or up to 25 percent of the yearly meetings, whichever is greater.

Also endorsed was a  draft bill dealing with electronic meetings during emergencies. VACo worked with VML, the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia Coalition for Open Government on a proposal which was endorsed by the Committee. The proposal incorporates some of the Governor’s budget language on electronic meetings during emergency conditions which is currently in place.

The Committee also endorsed a revised version of Delegate Hurst’s HB 5090 introduced in the 2020 legislative session dealing with release of criminal incident information.

VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, Esq.

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