Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
What is the Virginia Freedom of Information Act?
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located in § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth, representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth, and representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees. The purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities.
A public record is any writing or recording — regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format — that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees, or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
Your FOIA Rights
- You have the right to request to inspect, receive copies of public records, or both.
- You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
- If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA. Alternatively, you may contact the FOIA Council for a nonbinding advisory opinion.
Making a Request for records from GWRC
- You may request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, in person, or over the phone. FOIA does not require that your request be in writing nor do you need to specifically state that you are requesting records under FOIA.
- From a practical perspective, it may be helpful to both you and the person receiving your request to put your request in writing. However, we cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you elect to not put it in writing.
- Your request must identify the records you are seeking with “reasonable specificity.” This is a common-sense standard, it requires that you be specific enough so that we can identify and locate the records that you are seeking.
- Your request must ask for existing records or documents.
- You may choose to receive electronic records in any format used by GWRC in the regular course of business. For example, if you are requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a computer disk, or to receive a printed copy of those records.
To request records from GWRC, please see the following:
In compliance with §2.2-3704.2 of the Code of Virginia, the George Washington Regional Commission has appointed the Executive Director as their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer, Resolution 22-13. As such, the Executive Director will serve as the contact person to assist a requester in making a request for records or responding to requests for public records.
Executive Director: Chip Boyles