West Virginia

A. In general

Overview

West Virginia

I. Economic development records.

W. Va. Code § 5B-2-1 exempts from the West Virginia FOIA “any documentary material, data or other writing made or received by any public body whose primary responsibility is economic development for the purpose of furnishing assistance to a new or existing business. This exemption specifically applies to the West Virginia economic development office and other similar public bodies with such responsibilities.

2. Material unavailable from other sources

The requested material must not be obtainable from other available sources. State ex rel. Charleston Mail Ass'n v. Ranson, and State ex rel. Hudok v. Henry. The court in State ex rel. Hudok v. Henry, supra, recognized there may be a situation where a newsperson is the only individual with credible evidence bearing upon an important issue in a civil case.

2. Legislative bodies.

The Act applies to all legislative bodies, such as the State Legislature or a city council. A 1993 amendment to the statute provides that "a governing body of the Legislature is any standing, select or special committee, except the commission on special investigations, as determined by the rules of the respective houses of the legislature."

4. For ruling on future meetings.

Courts can grant prospective relief enjoining a governing body of a public agency from proceeding as it has in the past and ordering the public agency to conduct its future meetings in conformity with the Open Meetings Act. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6.

1. Status of requestor.

Any person or entity may obtain access to records.

2. Negotiations.

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

3. Agreement to partially testify act as waiver?

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.

b. E-mail.

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