Virginia to Review FOIA Exemptions


The Virginia Press Association reported that the Virginia’s House of Delegates passed a bill that would order the Information Advisory Council to review all of Virginia’s Freedom of Information exemptions.  Government Transparency is prevented in agencies that are exempted; currently Virginia has 172 exemptions from FOIA laws.

Virginia’s FOIA laws and current framework were last reviewed in the year 2000. This review resulted in the creation of the FOIA Council.  Since the last revisions 70 new exemptions have been added.  Delegate James M. LeMunyon, R-Fairfax, co-sponsor of the bill said “You might consider this resolution to be a checkup on health and vitality of Virginia’s FOIA law.”

The bill passed the House of Delegates with an overwhelmingly majority by a 91-1 vote.  The bill instructs the FOIA Council to “examine the organizational structure of FOIA and make recommendations to improve readability and clarity of FOIA.”  The full Senate Rules committee has still yet to vote on the measure.

Virginia joins the growing number of states, including the District of Columbia, who are reevaluating and making efforts to improve government transparency.