Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 30. General Assembly
Chapter 21. Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council
11/24/2020

Chapter 21. Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

§ 30-178. Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council; membership; terms; quorum; expenses.

A. The Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council (the Council) is hereby created as an advisory council in the legislative branch to encourage and facilitate compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

B. The Council shall consist of 14 members as follows: the Attorney General or his designee; the Librarian of Virginia or his designee; the Director of the Division of Legislative Services or his designee; five members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, two of whom shall be members of the House of Delegates, and three nonlegislative citizen members, at least one of whom shall be or have been a representative of the news media; four members appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, two of whom shall be members of the Senate, one of whom shall be or have been an officer of local government, and one nonlegislative citizen at-large member; and two nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall not be a state employee. The local government representative may be selected from a list recommended by the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League, after due consideration of such list by the Senate Committee on Rules. The citizen members may be selected from a list recommended by the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Association of Broadcasters, and the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, after due consideration of such list by the appointing authorities.

C. All appointments following the initial staggering of terms shall be for terms of four years, except that appointments to fill vacancies shall be for the unexpired terms in the same manner as the original appointment. No nonlegislative citizen member shall be eligible to serve for more than two successive four-year terms. At the end of a term, a nonlegislative citizen member shall continue to serve until a successor is appointed. However, after the expiration of a term of three years or less, or after the expiration of the remainder of a term to which appointed to fill a vacancy, two additional terms may be served by such member if appointed thereto. Legislative members and other state government officials shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. Legislative members may be reappointed for successive terms.

D. The members of the Council shall elect from among their membership a chairman and a vice-chairman for two-year terms. The chairman and vice-chairman may not succeed themselves to the same position.

E. The Council shall hold meetings quarterly or upon the call of the chairman. A majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C, if any nonlegislative citizen member of the Council fails to attend a majority of meetings of the Council in a calendar year, the Council shall notify the member's appointing authority. Upon receipt of such notification, the appointing authority may remove the member and appoint a successor as soon as practicable.

F. Members of the Council shall receive no compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in §§ 2.2-2813, 2.2-2825 and 30-19.12, as appropriate. Funding for expenses of the members shall be provided from existing appropriations to the Council.

2000, cc. 917, 987, § 2.1-346.2; 2001, c. 844; 2004, c. 1000; 2017, cc. 141, 644.

§ 30-179. Powers and duties of the Council.

The Council shall:

1. Furnish, upon request, advisory opinions or guidelines, and other appropriate information regarding the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.) to any person or public body, in an expeditious manner;

2. Conduct training seminars and educational programs for the members and staff of public bodies and other interested persons on the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.);

3. Publish such educational materials as it deems appropriate on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.);

4. Request from any public body such assistance, services, and information as will enable the Council to effectively carry out its responsibilities. Information provided to the Council by a public body shall not be released to any other party unless authorized by such public body;

5. Assist in the development and implementation of the provisions of § 2.2-3704.1;

6. Develop the public comment form for use by designated public bodies in accordance with subdivision D 6 of § 2.2-3708.2;

7. Develop an online public comment form to be posted on the Council's official public government website to enable any requester to comment on the quality of assistance provided to the requester by a public body; and

8. Report annually on or before December 1 of each year on its activities and findings regarding the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), including recommendations for changes in the law, to the General Assembly and the Governor. The annual report shall be published as a state document.

2000, cc. 917, 987, § 2.1-346.3; 2001, c. 844; 2004, cc. 730, 1000; 2013, c. 694; 2017, c. 645; 2018, cc. 55, 56; 2019, c. 354.

§ 30-180. Staff.

Staff assistance to the Council shall be provided by the Division of Legislative Services. Staff shall perform those duties assigned to it by the Council.

2000, cc. 917, 987, § 2.1-346.4; 2001, c. 844.

§ 30-181. Cooperation of agencies of state and local government.

Every department, division, board, bureau, commission, authority or political subdivision of the Commonwealth shall cooperate with, and provide such assistance to, the Council as the Council may request.

2000, cc. 917, 987, § 2.1-346.5; 2001, c. 844.