West Virginia

G. Collective bargaining records.

There is no exemption for collective bargain records. However, collective bargaining by public employees is unlawful in West Virginia.

1. Number that must be present.

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

I. STATUTE -- BASIC APPLICATION

The Freedom of Information Act's declaration of policy, which is quoted in the Foreword, is the only indication of the legislative intent underlying the statute. There is no recorded legislative history relating to either the statute's original enactment in 1977 or its subsequent amendments. However, the state Supreme Court of Appeals has quoted the FOIA policy declaration repeatedly in its opinions. Daily Gazette v. W. Va. Development Office, supra; Ogden Newspapers v. City of Charleston, 192 W. Va. 648, 453 S.E.2d 631 (1994).

S. Vital statistics.

Birth and death certificates are governed by W. Va. Code § 16-5-26, which provides that it is:

4. Standard of review

All questions or interpretations of law are subject to a de novo standard of review. Findings of fact made by a jury, or by a judge sitting as the finder of fact at trial, are reviewed under a "clearly erroneous" standard; however, factual findings made by a lower court (if any) in matters concerning the assertion of a reporters' privilege typically are derived from affidavits or pleadings, a de novo standard would apply to any such findings made by the lower court.

2. Criminal

In the only West Virginia criminal case discussing a reporter's privilege, State ex rel. Charleston Mail Ass'n v. Ranson, 200 W.Va. 5, 488 S.E.2d 5 (1997), the court held that a subpoena to a reporter in a criminal case is treated differently than a subpoena to a reporter in a civil case, at least when the subpoena comes from a criminal defendant. The court agreed that a qualified privilege still exists for reporters in criminal cases, but slightly lowered the standard for breaching the privilege because of the criminal defendants' Sixth Amendment rights.

5. Other.

The Open Meetings Act provides a practical limitation on challenges made to bond issues. If notice of the meeting at which the bond issue was finally considered was given at least ten days prior to the meeting by a Class I legal advertisement in a qualified newspaper having general circulation in the geographical area, then the bond issue will not be rendered void in a challenge by a citizen. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6.

(1). Time limit for giving notice.

The Open Meetings Act requires that, except in emergencies, state executive agencies must give notice of their meetings "at least five days prior to the date of the meeting":

7. Others.

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