Is it legal for elected officials to text during public meetings? Virginia FOIA Council may soon weigh in

Elected officials secretly texting each other during public meetings may or may not become a problem requiring a statewide fix. But it’s happening enough that a Virginia transparency panel may soon issue guidance to city councils and county boards on the legality of politicians tapping out messages on their phones while conducting public business.

On Tuesday, members of a Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council subcommittee focused on open-meeting laws discussed the issue in response to a novel dispute that arose in Loudoun County.

During a 2016 land-use committee meeting about a planned Harris Teeter, a member of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors used text messages to lobby his colleagues even though he wasn’t in the room, according to local news outlet Loudoun Now. Other supervisors eventually disclosed to the audience that they were receiving the messages. Read more…