The Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring is considering the consolidation or elimination of a number of state government boards and commissions. Among those marked for elimination is the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council.
In its report, available at www.reform.virginia.gov, the commission noted that citizens can recoup attorneys’ fees in FOIA litigation and the Office of the Attorney General can issue official opinions if needed.
The FOIA Council was established in part to offer an alternative to litigation by resolving disputes, as stated on its Web site: “By issuing advisory opinions, whether oral or written, the FOIA Council hopes to resolve disputes by clarifying what the law requires and to guide future practices.”
Also, only certain designated government officials (as listed in Virginia Code § 2.2-505) can request opinions from the Attorney General. The FOIA Council Web site states that the council “answers questions from private citizens, state and local public officials, and the media about access to public records and meetings.”
No final recommendation has been adopted and the Commission encourages public comment on the proposed consolidations and eliminations. Please submit your comments at www.reform.virginia.gov by clicking on the “Comment on the Commission’s Potential Recommendations” link.