West Virginia

A. Can the requester choose a format for receiving records?

W. Va. Code § 29B-1-3(3) requires that copies of records that "exist in magnetic, electronic or computer form" be made "available on magnetic or electronic media, if so requested." There are no state Supreme Court cases where the application or interpretation of this requirement has been an issue. Agencies reportedly vary in their willingness to comply with this section. For instance, computerized census information to date has only been made available in hard copy.

(3). Where posted.

Except for the requirement that state executive agencies file notice of their meetings with the secretary of state for publication in the state register, the statute does not state where notice of meetings must be posted. The Attorney General has advised that posting a notice on the courthouse door will fulfill the requirements of the statute for county commission meetings, Op. Att'y Gen., June 23, 1978, and that all state agencies should, at a minimum, file notice with the Secretary of State. Op. Att'y Gen., Nov. 20, 1978.

e. Other.

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

e. Requirement to state statutory authority for closing meetings before closure.

The presiding officer of a governing body must publicly state the authority under the Act for requesting the governing body go into executive session. Id.

3. Balancing of interests

The essence of the reporter's privilege in West Virginia is the balancing of interests. In some contexts, such as civil cases not involving libel claims, the reporter interest is given the most weight. In other contexts, namely the grand jury context, the "public interest" in solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice is given more weight. And in a third context, such as criminal proceedings implicating a defendant's Fifth Amendment rights, or libel cases, the weight given to the reporter versus the weight given the defendant is more equal.

G. How are online discussion board posts treated?

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

c. Minutes.

Emergency meetings are subject to the same requirements as any other meetings with respect to maintaining, and granting public access to minutes.