Governor signs revised records act
VIRGINIA–A package of legislation updating Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act was signed by Gov. Jim Gilmore in late March and will take effect July 1, 1999.
Among other changes, the legislation requires that all public records and meetings are presumed open unless an exemption is properly invoked. The legislation broadly defines “public records” and expressly extends coverage to electronic records.
The legislation also narrows the exemption for agency “working papers” in the Freedom of Information Act and clarifies what fees may be charged for records.
The legislation requires public officials to read and familiarize themselves with state records law.
As of July 1, 1999, public bodies also will be allowed to post notices of upcoming public meetings on web sites and through e-mail or electronic list services. Fines for violations have also been increased. (H.B. 1985, S.B. 806, S.B. 1023)