National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Major FOIA change afoot: Virginia bill protects names of state, local employees

Virginia legislation that could make it nigh impossible to discover the annual salaries of most state and local employees is headed to the Senate floor for a vote.

Senate Bill 552 cleared committee Monday by a single vote, and with some confusion over just how broad the bill was — it was pitched as protection only for law enforcement names.

Virginia Press Association attorney Craig Merritt told Senate General Laws and Technology Committee members that the newest version of the bill would cover not just law enforcement but also "every living breathing employee" in state and local government.

A committee attorney confirmed that reading after the meeting. That would be a major rewrite of Virginia's Freedom of Information Act, which for years has held that government employee names and salaries are a matter of public record. Continue…