Friday, October 18, 2013

FOIA - GIS and SCC meetings November 13, 2013

Dear FOIA Council Members, Patron, and Interested Parties:

You will recall that at its meeting on September 12, 2013, the FOIA Council (the Council) asked that interested parties get together to discuss two issues in greater detail: (1) the treatment of geographic information system (GIS) data under FOIA, and (2) a re-draft of House Bill 2321 from Delegate Surovell, which would make the State Corporation Commission (SCC) subject to FOIA with certain exceptions. The GIS discussion will be held at 10:00 AM, and the SCC discussion at 1:00 PM, both on November 13, 2013, in the Speaker's Conference Room, Sixth Floor of the General Assembly Building, 201 N. 9th Street, Richmond, Virginia  23219

As further background for the GIS discussion, please recall that FOIA currently only addresses charges for topographic maps.  The Council heard testimony that that language is confusing and does not reflect changes in technology or how GIS data is currently used.  Regarding the SCC discussion, please recall that HB 2321 has already been discussed by the Rights and Responsibilities Subcommittee, which concluded its work with no recommendation.  The Council indicated that it supported the idea of the redrafted bill (which would make the SCC subject to FOIA for records purposes, but exempt records of the SCC's regulatory activities, and exempt the SCC from FOIA's open meetings requirements), but felt the language used in the redraft was too vague.  

Finally, please note that these meetings are not being held as meetings of the FOIA Council or its Subcommittees, but are intended to allow any interested parties to attend and contribute their ideas.  The results of these meetings will be reported to the FOIA Council at its next meeting, which is scheduled for 1:30 PM on December 5, 2013 in House Room C of the General Assembly Building.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need additional information.

Maria J.K. Everett, Executive Director and Senior Attorney
Alan Gernhardt, Staff Attorney
Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council

910 Capitol Street

Richmond, Virginia 23219

(804) 225-3056 or 1-866-448-4100 (toll free)

The staff of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory opinions. Please be advised that any staff advisory opinion delivered by e-mail is based solely upon the facts and information presented in your attached e-mail inquiry.

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