West Virginia

E. Financial data of public bodies.

Unless it comes within the scope of exemption nine — "[m]atters involving or affecting the purchase, sale or lease of property, advance construction planning, the investment of public funds or other matters involving competition which, if made public, might adversely affect the financial or other interest of the state or any political subdivision" (W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(9)) — there is no specific exception allowing meetings concerned with financial data of public bodies to be closed.

3. Courts.

The Open Meetings Act excludes courts from its coverage. In the definition of public agency, it is stated that such term "does not include courts created by article eight of the West Virginia constitution or the system of family law masters created by article four [§ §  48A-4-1 et seq., repealed], chapter forty-eight-a of this code." This exclusion does not mean courts are permitted to meet in secret. Courts are required by Article III, Section 17 of the West Virginia Constitution to be open to the public.

3. Transactions.

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

C. Does the existence of information in electronic format affect its openness?

To date, there has been no distinction between information in electronic format and more traditional format and state agencies routinely provide information to FOIA requesters in electronic format.

A. Access to voir dire

Overview

West Virginia

1. Is the privilege waivable at all?

There is no West Virginia caselaw or statute addressing whether a journalist may be deemed to have waived the privilege. Because the privilege is constitutional in nature, it is likely the privilege may never be deemed to have been waived.

P. Security, national and/or state, of buildings, personnel or other.

The statute permits closed meetings to discuss "[m]atters of war, threatened attack from a foreign power, civil insurrection or riot," W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(l), as well as the "development of security personnel or devices." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(8).

b. E-mail.

There have been no reported meetings conducted via computer, whether by way of an online chat or through e-mail.

2. Does the law cover oral requests?

The FOIA requires a denial of a request for access to records to be in writing, but the request itself may be either oral or written. However, as Professor Neely notes, written requests often have practical advantages:

For evidentiary purposes a written request would prove useful in subsequent judicial review proceedings, if an oral request is denied or if refusal is anticipated at the outset. Additionally, a written request will establish precisely what is being requested for purposes of deliberation within the public body.

1. Is software public?

There have been no court decisions or agency guidance indicating how software is to be treated for purposes of FOIA analysis.