National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Co-Head Of Virginia’s FOIA Council Introduces Bill To Make State’s Court System Even More Opaque

As the result of a public records battle with a local newspaper over court records, two Virginia politicians have decided to address the issue with legislation. One hopes to further open court records to the public.

Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News, filed House Bill 4, which would require the case management system maintained by the Office of the Executive Secretary to be open to the public. The bill was filed in November.

The other politician involved has, unsurprisingly, offered up a competing bill that would take public records laws in the opposite direction.

Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford, has a different idea. He filed Senate Bill 727 this week, which would exempt all courts in Virginia from the Freedom of Information Act.

This would add to the large pile of exemptions the state government already benefits from. To the detriment of residents, state agencies and employees have nearly 175 FOIA exemptions available to them. The addition of court docket data would further separate the Virginian government from transparency and accountability. Read more…