Virginia Gov. McAuliffe signs bill to reverse anti-FOIA ruling by state Supreme Court

After initially expressing concerns about a bill to ensure nonexempt public records are released, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed it.

Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association, praised the governor’s decision after open-government advocates and lawmakers from both parties last month criticized his resistance.

A September ruling by the Supreme Court of Virginia caused alarm in the General Assembly. The court ruled in Department of Corrections v. Surovell that government agencies could withhold entire records if the records had any information that was exempt from release under the state Freedom of Information Act. The previous, accepted understanding had been that government could redact information that is exempt but had to release nonexempt information. Continue…