Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Taylor Ginger, FOIA Officer
§ 2.2-3704.1. Posting of notice of rights and responsibilities by state and local public bodies; assistance by the Freedom of Information Advisory Council.
A. All state public bodies subject to the provisions of this chapter, any county or city, any town with a population of more than 250, and any school board shall make available the following information to the public upon request and shall post a link to such information on the homepage of their respective official public government websites:
1. A plain English explanation of the rights of a requester under this chapter, the procedures to obtain public records from the public body, and the responsibilities of the public body in complying with this chapter. For purposes of this section, “plain English” means written in nontechnical, readily understandable language using words of common everyday usage and avoiding legal terms and phrases or other terms and words of art whose usage or special meaning primarily is limited to a particular field or profession;
2. Contact information for the FOIA officer designated by the public body pursuant to § 2.2-3704.2<//law.lis.
3. A general description, summary, list, or index of the types of public records maintained by such public body;
4. A general description, summary, list, or index of any exemptions in law that permit or require such public records to be withheld from release;
5. Any policy the public body has concerning the type of public records it routinely withholds from release as permitted by this chapter or other law; and
6. The following statement: “A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704<//law.lis.
B. Any state public body subject to the provisions of this chapter and any county or city, and any town with a population of more than 250, shall post a link on its official public government website to the online public comment form on the Freedom of Information Advisory Council’s website to enable any requester to comment on the quality of assistance provided to the requester by the public body.
C. The Freedom of Information Advisory Council, created pursuant to § 30-178<//law.lis.
2004, c. 730<//lis.virginia.gov/
§ 2.2-3704.2. Public bodies to designate FOIA officer.
A. All state public bodies, including state authorities, that are subject to the provisions of this chapter and all local public bodies that are subject to the provisions of this chapter, shall designate and publicly identify one or more Freedom of Information Act officers (FOIA officer) whose responsibility is to serve as a point of contact for members of the public in requesting public records and to coordinate the public body’s compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
B. For such state public bodies, the name and contact information of the public body’s FOIA officer to whom members of the public may direct requests for public records and who will oversee the public body’s compliance with the provisions of this chapter shall be made available to the public upon request and be posted on the respective public body’s official public government website at the time of designation and maintained thereafter on such website for the duration of the designation.
C. For such local public bodies, the name and contact information of the public body’s FOIA officer to whom members of the public may direct requests for public records and who will oversee the public body’s compliance with the provisions of this chapter shall be made available in a way reasonably calculated to provide notice to the public, including posting at the public body’s place of business, posting on its official public government website, or including such information in its publications.
D. For the purposes of this section, local public bodies shall include constitutional officers.
E. Any such FOIA officer shall possess specific knowledge of the provisions of this chapter and be trained at least annually by legal counsel for the public body or the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council (the Council) or through an online course offered by the Council. Any such training shall document that the training required by this subsection has been fulfilled.
F. The name and contact information of a FOIA officer trained by legal counsel of a public body shall be (i) submitted to the Council by July 1 of each year on a form developed by the Council for that purpose and (ii) updated in a timely manner in the event of any changes to such information.
G. The Council shall maintain on its website a listing of all FOIA officers, including name, contact information, and the name of the public body such FOIA officers serve.
2016, c. 748<//lis.virginia.gov/