Virginia Freedom of Information Act; meetings held through electronic communication means. (SB1271)

Introduced By

Sen. Jeremy McPike (D-Dale City) with support from co-patrons Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-Clarke), Del. Rip Sullivan (D-Arlington), and Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Virginia Freedom of Information Act; meetings held through electronic communication means during a state of emergency. Allows a public body, or a joint meeting thereof, to meet by electronic communication means without a quorum of the public body physically assembled at one location when a locality in which the public body is located has declared a local state of emergency, provided that (i) the catastrophic nature of the declared emergency makes it impracticable or unsafe to assemble a quorum in a single location and (ii) the purpose of the meeting is to provide for the continuity of operations of the public body or the discharge of its lawful purposes, duties, and responsibilities. Under current law, public bodies may only meet in such manner when the Governor has declared a state of emergency and only for the purpose of addressing the emergency. Finally, the bill requires public bodies meeting through electronic communication means during a local or state declaration of a state of emergency to (a) make arrangements for public access to such meeting through electronic communication means, including videoconferencing if already used by the public body, and (b) provide the public with the opportunity to comment at such meetings when public comment is customarily received. Read the Bill »


03/31/2021: signed by governor


01/12/2021Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/21 21101309D
01/12/2021Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
01/14/2021Impact statement from DPB (SB1271)
01/20/2021Reported from General Laws and Technology (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/22/2021Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/25/2021Read second time and engrossed
01/26/2021Read third time and passed Senate (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/02/2021Placed on Calendar
02/02/2021Read first time
02/02/2021Referred to Committee on General Laws
02/08/2021Continued to Special Session 1 in General Laws
02/09/2021Assigned GL sub: Open Government/Procurement
02/16/2021Subcommittee recommends reporting (8-Y 0-N)
02/18/2021Reported from General Laws (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/22/2021Read second time
02/23/2021Floor substitute printed 21200596D-H1 (Simon)
02/23/2021Impact statement from DPB (SB1271H1)
02/23/2021Read third time
02/23/2021Substitute by Delegate Simon agreed to 21200596D-H1
02/23/2021Engrossed by House - floor substitute SB1271H1
02/23/2021Passed House with substitute (47-Y 44-N 1-A)
02/23/2021VOTE: Passage (47-Y 44-N 1-A)
02/24/2021House substitute rejected by Senate (0-Y 39-N)
02/25/2021House insisted on substitute
02/25/2021House requested conference committee
02/25/2021Senate acceded to request (38-Y 0-N)
02/25/2021Conferees appointed by Senate
02/25/2021Senators: McPike, Stuart, Boysko
02/25/2021Conferees appointed by House
02/25/2021Delegates: Simon, Carr, Orrock
02/27/2021C Amended by conference committee
02/27/2021Conference report agreed to by Senate (27-Y 12-N)
02/27/2021Conference report agreed to by House (54-Y 45_N)
02/27/2021VOTE: Agreed To (54-Y 45-N)
03/09/2021Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB1271ER)
03/09/2021Impact statement from DPB (SB1271ER)
03/09/2021Signed by President
03/11/2021Signed by Speaker
03/15/2021Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 15, 2021
03/15/2021G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., March 31, 2021
03/31/2021G Approved by Governor-Chapter 490 (effective 7/1/21)
03/31/2021G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0490)

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