General Assembly

Joint statement on barring journalists from the floor of the Virginia Senate

The Virginia Senate this week has decided to move the public's business farther from the public.

The Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Virginia Press Association, and the Virginia Coalition for Open Government are disappointed by Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment's action to refuse to allow journalists onto the Senate floor to cover the General Assembly proceedings, as reported by The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Washington Post and others. Norment has banished the press to cramped quarters where it is difficult to do its job.

Majority leader bars reporters from the floor of the Virginia Senate

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Reporters who showed up to cover the first day of the Virginia General Assembly session were surprised to see that the press tables has been removed from the Senate chamber.

At the order of Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City County, reporters were told to sit in the balcony, rather than on the Senate floor, where journalists have worked during General Assembly sessions for decades.

Editorial: State lacks commitment to transparency

It is clear that Virginia’s state legislature has no real commitment to transparency when the vice-chairman of the Freedom of Information Act Council puts forth a bill to weaken the state’s already woeful open-government standards.

State Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Fredericksburg) has proposed a bill that would mean the salaries of state employees making less than $30,320 per year would not be made public. The bill also says that the names of any public officer, appointee or employee could be excluded from any database of public salaries.

Bill filed by FOIA Council vice chair would hide salaries, names of public workers

The vice chairman of the state FOIA Council has submitted a bill that would exempt from the public the names of people who earn their living from the public's pocketbook.

Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Fredericksburg) filed Senate Bill 202 on Tuesday. The new language sharply reduces the salary figures that can be made public. It goes a step further, excluding the names of "any public officer, appointee or employee" from any database of public salaries.

FOIA Council discusses 3 bills on access to public information

Discussion during Wednesday’s meeting of the Virginia FOIA Council focused on the implications of a recent Virginia Supreme Court ruling that permitted public bodies to withhold entire documents simply because a portion of the document was exempt from the state’s Freedom Of Information Act. That runs sharply afoul of FOIA language that emphasizes only exempt information be redacted while the remainder is made public.

Judge: Denying access to database is 'nonsensical'

A judge in Newport News has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Daily Press and reporter Dave Ress that seeks access to a statewide database of circuit court records.

In a story reported by Ryan Murphy of the Daily Press, Circuit Court Judge David Pugh called objections to releasing the database "nonsensical." Pugh added that the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia - the defendant in the lawsuit - appears to be responsible for making the database available. Pugh scheduled a trial for Feb. 16, 2016.

Business and Public Notice Chart

This page covers the 2016 General Assembly Legislation as it relates to business and public notice issues related to the newspaper industry. This table includes links to the home pages of the legislation and the patron.

VPA and its allies defeat HB 95

One public notice bill down, one more to go.

Virginia Press Association and its allies last week defeated HB 95, which would have allowed localities to publish public notices on their own websites rather than in newspapers. A subcommittee of the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns voted 7-3 against reporting the bill to the full committee.

Dels. Christopher P. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach; Richard L. Morris, R-Isle of Wight; and Bill R. DeSteph Jr., R-Virginia Beach voted in favor of the bill.

VPA Day at the Capitol #3

Dates: 

Thu, Feb 06 2014

What’s better than one Virginia Press Association Day at the Capitol? How about four VPA Days at the Capitol?

The Virginia Press Association, at the request of its Public Notice Task Force, has scheduled four days for newspaper publishers and executives to spend time in the halls of the state government.

VPA Days are scheduled for January 16, January 28, February 6 and February 18. If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, please contact Executive Director Ginger Stanley at (804) 521-7575 or gingers@vpa.net.

VPA Day at the Capitol #2

Dates: 

Tue, Jan 28 2014

What’s better than one Virginia Press Association Day at the Capitol? How about four VPA Days at the Capitol?

The Virginia Press Association, at the request of its Public Notice Task Force, has scheduled four days for newspaper publishers and executives to spend time in the halls of the state government.

VPA Days are scheduled for January 16, January 28, February 6 and February 18. If you are interested in attending one of these sessions, please contact Executive Director Ginger Stanley at (804) 521-7575 or gingers@vpa.net.

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