West Virginia

(1). Information required.

Every public agency is required to maintain minutes of its meetings, which must include at least: (a) the date, time and place of the meeting; (b) the name of each member of the governing body present and absent; (c) all motions, proposals, resolutions, orders, ordinances and measures proposed, the name of the person proposing the same and their disposition; and (d) the results of all votes and, upon the request of a member, the vote of each member, by name. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-5.

B. Dependency

Overview

West Virginia

4. Any other recourse to encourage a response.

Typical approaches to encourage a response would include seeking the assistance of the press or an influential person whether within or without the public body. Another, and often more promising, method of informally encouraging a response is through the agency's legal advisor. The state Attorney General's office represents most state agencies; counties and political subdivisions usually obtain legal advice from the county prosecuting attorney or city attorney.

a. Administrative forum.

There is no provision in the Open Meetings Act for an administrative challenge to a public agency's actions. However, it is possible that some agencies may have promulgated regulations that provide such an administrative forum. In that case, provisions regarding time limits for requesting or receiving a ruling or subsequent administrative remedies should also be contained in the agency's regulations. With few exceptions, such regulations must be filed with the office of the Secretary of State and can be obtained either from that office or from the agency involved.

A. Newspaper articles

A newsperson is not required to testify in court that a particular article actually appeared in the newspaper in order to authenticate the article. Pursuant to Rule 902(6) of the West Virginia Rules of Evidence, newspapers are self-authenticating and therefore, testimony by the author/reporter is unnecessary to authenticate the article for admissibility purposes. Therefore, if a reporter is subpoenaed for that purpose, the subpoena should be quashed easily.

J. Money-making schemes.

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

b. Notice requirements.

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

3. Pro se.

There is no requirement that an attorney file a FOIA suit. In fact, two of the court decisions ordering public bodies to provide access to records were the result of suits filed by individuals pro se, representing themselves. Veltri v. Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, supra; Hark v. Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, supra. However, seeking relief in court without the aid of an attorney is problematic and should be the subject of careful consideration of the temperament of the court toward the press and the identity and expertise of possible opposing counsel.

c. Order future meetings open.

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

3. Nature of appeal

There is no "appeal by right" to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals; the acceptance of an appeal by that court is entirely discretionary. A party may seek extraordinary relief in the Supreme Court by filing a Petition for Writ of Prohibition or for Writ of mandamus to preclude enforcement of the circuit court's ruling or to compel the court to rule in the correct manner. Like a Petition for Appeal, Petitions for extraordinary writs, such as Prohibition or Mandamus are discretionary.