West Virginia

6. Other.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

5. Addressing mootness questions

West Virginia courts have not had occasion to address "mootness" as an issue when a trial or grand jury session for which a reporter was subpoenaed has concluded.

3. Grand jury

Although there are no West Virginia cases directly on point addressing a reporter's privilege in the grand jury context, nevertheless, the Hudok court acknowledged that a reporter's privilege "will yield in proceedings before a grand jury where the reporter has personal knowledge or is aware of confidential sources that bear on the criminal investigation[.]" The Hudok court cited with approval the United States Supreme Court's decision in Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 92 S.Ct.

C. What bodies are covered by the law?

The Open Meetings Act applies to the meetings of every "governing body" of "any public agency." W. Va. Code §  6-9 A-2 (3). The 1999 amendments to the Open Meetings Act replaced the term "public body" with "public agency." A public agency is defined as follows:

1. Salary.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

b. Mandatory or discretionary closure.

The nine specific exceptions of the Open Meetings Act merely authorize a closed session at the discretion of the governing body; a majority vote is required to invoke the provisions permitting executive sessions. Note that in the case of the five exemptions directed toward protecting individual privacy, the individual involved may demand a public meeting.

13. Emergency medical services records.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

2. Legislative bodies.

Records of legislative bodies are subject to the FOIA to the same extent as records of any other public body. In Common Cause of West Virginia v. Tomblin, 186 W. Va. 537, 413 S.E.2d 358 (1991), the state Supreme Court invalidated the process by which the Legislature's Conferees Committee on the Budget traditionally prepared an informal but influential budget "digest" setting forth its view of the specific purposes for which general appropriations should be used.

A. Fair trial rights

Overview

West Virginia