West Virginia

2. When barred from attending.

Section 3 of the Open Meetings Act specifically authorizes the enforcement of the right to attend an open meeting through a civil action filed in the circuit court where the public agency regularly meets. The suit must be brought within 120 days "after the action complained of was taken or the decision complained of was made. No bond need be posted as a prerequisite to injunctive relief" unless the petition appears to be without merit or made with the sole intent of harassing or delaying or avoiding return by the governing body.

5. Have agencies imposed prohibitive fees to discourage requesters?

The use of prohibitive fees is an obvious, and favorite, tactic used by public agencies wishing to discourage requests. On one occasion, for example, West Virginia University initially demanded payment of over eight hundred dollars in search fees and 'overhead costs' for producing a document a few pages long. The fee was subsequently waived after objections were raised.

1. Regular meetings.

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

3. Contents of a written request.

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

1. Who may sue?

Any "citizen" of this state may file a petition challenging the action of a public agency under the Open Meetings Act. W. Va. Code §§ 6-9A-3 and 6. Although the statute originally required the plaintiff to "show a good faith and valid reason for making the application," the provision was deleted in a 1993 amendment. Only a person "adversely affected" by a decision may have the decision invalidated solely on the grounds the body gave improper notice of the meeting. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-3.

E. Homeland Security Measures.

In 2003 the West Virginia Legislature amended FOIA by adding eight new exemptions related to homeland security and anti-terrorism planning. See, W. Va. Code § 29B-1-4(9) - (16). No judicial decisions have been reported which have involved any of the new exemptions. See supra., II A (2).

(2). To whom notice is given.

The Open Meetings Act does not state to whom notice of an emergency meeting is to be given. The governing bodies of the executive branch of the state presumably would file the notice of an emergency meeting with the Secretary of State.