National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Virginia: FOIA group agrees to look at ‘working papers’ exemption

RICHMOND – A Virginia law that allows government officials, from the governor to mayors to college presidents, to shield a wide swath of documents from public view deserves a closer look, a small state committee reviewing Virginia's Freedom of Information Act said Thursday.

This "working papers and correspondence" exemption allows chief executives, and members of the General Assembly, to withhold from the public letters, emails and other documents prepared for their "personal or deliberative use." The exemption is meant to protect working, but not final, drafts of a wide range of documents, but open government advocates have long considered it one of the widest and most widely abused loopholes in state public records law.  Continue>>>