Virginia Freedom of Information Act; public access to records of public bodies. (HB1539)

Introduced By

Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-Oak Hill)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); public access to records of public bodies. Clarifies the definition of public record. The bill also (i) defines "personal contact information" that is excluded from FOIA's mandatory disclosure provisions in certain cases; (ii) clarifies that a requester has the right to inspect records or receive copies at his option; (iii) clarifies language in certain record exclusions under FOIA that certain records may be disclosed at the discretion of the custodian; (iv) consolidates the personnel record exclusion with the limitation on the application of that exclusion, and specifically clarifies that the name, in addition to position, job classification, and salary, of a public employee is public information as per opinions of the Attorney General and the FOIA Council; (v) eliminates, effective July 1, 2018, the exclusion for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority relating to operating and marketing strategies; (vi) eliminates the exclusion for correspondence of local officials as unnecessary; (vii) consolidates various public safety exclusions relating to building plans and drawings and critical infrastructure into a single exclusion; (viii) eliminates the exclusion for administrative investigations of the Department of Human Resource Management, as the exclusion is already covered under the personnel records exclusion; (ix) expands the exclusion for personal information provided to the Virginia College Savings Plan to cover qualified beneficiaries, designated survivors, and authorized individuals, which terms are defined in the bill; (x) consolidates the various record exclusions for the Department of Health Professions and the Department of Health into single exclusions for each Department; (xi) clarifies certain Department of Social Services exclusions; (xii) provides an exclusion for local finance boards that provide postemployment benefits other than pensions; and (xiii) eliminates the record exclusion for Virginia Wildlife Magazine. The bill also eliminates the correspondence exclusion for certain state and local officials. The bill contains numerous technical amendments. This bill is a recommendation of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council pursuant to the HJR 96 FOIA study (2014-2016). Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


12/27/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17100968D
12/27/2016Referred to Committee on General Laws
01/11/2017Assigned GL sub: Subcommittee #2
01/12/2017Impact statement from DHCD (HB1539)
01/26/2017Impact statement from DPB (HB1539)
01/26/2017Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendments (7-Y 0-N)
01/30/2017Impact statement from DHCD/CLG (HB1539)
02/02/2017Reported from General Laws with substitute (20-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/02/2017Committee substitute printed 17104899D-H1
02/04/2017Read first time
02/06/2017Impact statement from DPB (HB1539H1)
02/06/2017Read second time
02/06/2017Committee substitute agreed to 17104899D-H1
02/06/2017Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB1539H1
02/07/2017Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (97-Y 0-N)
02/07/2017VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (97-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/08/2017Constitutional reading dispensed
02/08/2017Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
02/13/2017Reported from General Laws and Technology (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/15/2017Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2017Read third time
02/16/2017Passed Senate (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2017Reconsideration of Senate passage agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2017Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/07/2017Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1539ER)
03/07/2017Signed by Speaker
03/08/2017Impact statement from DPB (HB1539ER)
03/10/2017Signed by President
03/13/2017Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 3/13/17
03/13/2017G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 27, 2017
03/24/2017Governor's recommendation received by House
04/05/2017Placed on Calendar
04/05/2017House concurred in Governor's recommendation (98-Y 0-N)
04/05/2017VOTE: ADOPTION (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
04/05/2017Senate concurred in Governor's recommendation (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
04/05/2017G Governor's recommendation adopted
04/05/2017Reenrolled bill text (HB1539ER2)
04/05/2017Signed by Speaker as reenrolled
04/05/2017Signed by President as reenrolled
04/05/2017Enacted, Chapter 778 (effective 7/1/17)
04/05/2017G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0778)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 24 clips in all, totaling 14 minutes.