Virginia lawmakers move to tighten access to public records

From Virginia Bureau:

ALEXANDRIA — A bill that clarifies the Virginia Freedom of Information Act to include legislative aides in the lengthy list of exempted public servants is one step closer to becoming law.
A slightly amended version of Delegate Tag Greason’s HB 1639, which would allow legislative aides the same privacy protections as lawmakers when working on correspondence or working papers for their bosses, made it through the General Assembly’s FOIA subcommittee on Thursday with a 7-0 favorable vote.
Virginia FOIA law already explicitly and broadly protects legislators’ working papers — or decision-making documents — and correspondence. Greason’s bill as amended clarifies that a, “‘Member of the General Assembly’ means each member of the Senate of Virginia and the House of Delegates, and their legislative aides when working on behalf of a member.”
Megan Rhyne, executive director for the Williamsburg-based Virginia Coalition for Open Government, opposed the original bill for shrouding transparency. The amended bill, she said, clarifies the assumed status quo.
“Everyone kind of assumed that, in acting on a legislator’s behalf, a legislative aide was already covered by that exemption,” Rhyne told