West Virginia

2. Description of each exemption.

The Open Meetings Act, as amended in 1999, specifically exempts twelve categories of information from its provisions. These exceptions, which are stated in much broader language than the exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act, permit public bodies to meet in closed executive session to discuss the following items:

B. What governments are subject to the law?

All levels of government, ranging from a city council to the State Legislature, fall within the general term "public body" used in the Act. The requirements of the statute apply to "this state or any political subdivision." W. Va. Code §  6-9A-2(6). Courts and family law masters are specifically excluded.

F. How are social media postings and messages treated?

There have been no court decisions or agency guidance indicating how social media postings and messages are to be treated for purposes of FOIA analysis.

9. Confidential informants.

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

E. Appellate proceedings


West Virginia

K. Negotiations and collective bargaining of public employees.

There is no exemption for collective bargaining negotiations or discussions; this is not surprising because public employees in West Virginia are not authorized to engage in collective bargaining.

9. Appointed as well as elected bodies.

Whether an agency is appointed or elected makes no difference under the Open Meetings Act as long as it is a public agency.

E. Business records, financial data, trade secrets.

Trade secrets are the first FOIA exemption, but there is no provision under the FOIA or other statutes for confidentiality of business records or financial data. In Queen v. WVU Hospitals, supra, the Supreme Court refused to create a general exemption for "business confidentiality." In Keegan v. Bailey, 191 W. Va. 145, 443 S.E.2d 826 (1994), the state Supreme Court ruled that the state's uncashed checks were subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, even though the records of abandoned property are specifically exempt under W. Va.

3. Student records.

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