The Virginia Freedom of Information Act guarantees voters of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officers, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording — no matter whether or not it’s a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any different format — that’s ready or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, staff or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may solely be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
The policy of FOIA states that the aim of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption permitting public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
Your FOIA Rights
You’ve got the correct to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or each.
You have got 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 the Virginia Literary Festival.
You will request records by U.S. Mail, fax, e-mail, personally, or over the phone. FOIA will not require that your request be in writing, nor do you need to specifically state that you’re requesting records underneath FOIA.
From a sensible perspective, it may be helpful to both you and therefore the person receiving your request to place your request in writing. This allows you to form a record of your request. It conjointly gives us a transparent statement of what records you’re requesting, thus that there is no misunderstanding over a verbal request. However, we have a tendency to cannot refuse to respond to your FOIA request if you choose to not place it in writing.
Your request must determine the records you’re seeking with “reasonable specificity.” This is a common sense normal. It will not talk over with or limit the quantity or number of records that you’re requesting; instead, it requires that you simply be specific enough so that we have a tendency to will identify and locate the records that you’re seeking.
Your request must raise for existing records or documents. FOIA offers you a right to inspect or copy records; it does not apply to a situation where you are asking general questions about the work of the Virginia Literary Festival, nor does it require the Virginia Literary Festival to form a record that doesn’t exist.
You will opt for to receive electronic records in any format employed by the Virginia Literary Festival in the regular course of business.
For example, if you’re requesting records maintained in an Excel database, you may elect to receive those records electronically, via e-mail or on a laptop disk, or to receive a printed copy of these records.
If we tend to have queries regarding your request, please cooperate with staff’s efforts to clarify the type of records that you’re seeking, or to attempt to achieve a affordable agreement concerning a response to a large request. Making a FOIA request isn’t an adversarial process, but we have a tendency to could would like to discuss your request with you to confirm that we understand what records you’re seeking.