Virginia Freedom of Information Act; charges for production of public records. (HB599)

Introduced By

Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas Park)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Virginia Freedom of Information Act; charges for production of public records. Prohibits a public body from charging a requester for any costs incurred during the first two hours spent accessing or searching for requested records when such requester has made four or fewer individual record requests to such public body within 31 consecutive days. The bill provides that for any additional time spent accessing or searching for such records, or when such requester makes five or more individual record requests to such public body within any 31-consecutive-day period, the public body shall not charge an hourly rate for accessing or searching for the records exceeding the lesser of the hourly rate of pay of the lowest-paid individual capable of fulfilling the request or $33 per hour. The bill allows a public body to petition the appropriate court for relief from the $33 per hour fee cap upon showing by a preponderance of the evidence that there is no qualified individual capable of fulfilling the request for $33 per hour or less and requires such petition to be heard within seven days of when the petition is made, provided that the public body has sent and the requester has received a copy of the petition at least three working days prior to filing. The bill also provides that in certain instances a hearing on any petition shall be given precedence on a circuit court's docket over all cases that are not otherwise given precedence by law and that the time period the public body has to respond to a record request shall be tolled between the requester's receipt of the petition and the final disposition of the court. Finally, the bill prohibits a public body from charging a requester for any court costs or fees resulting from a petition and requires a public body to post on its website or otherwise publish a written policy (i) explaining how the public body assesses charges for accessing or searching for requested records and (ii) noting the current fee charged, if any, by the public body for accessing and searching for the requested records. This bill is a recommendation of the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/11/2022Committee
01/11/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22100664D
01/11/2022Referred to Committee on General Laws
01/21/2022Assigned GL sub: Subcommittee #4
01/24/2022Impact statement from DHCD/CLG (HB599CHP)
01/25/2022Impact statement from DPB (HB599)
01/28/2022Impact statement from DHCD/CLG (HB599)
02/15/2022Left in General Laws

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