New legislative requirements under FOIA

Published 5:15 pm Friday, July 1, 2016

At the council meeting on Monday night, Franklin City Attorney Taylor Williams announced that there are new legislative requirements that are required by localities under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. FOIA is the law that gives citizens the right to access information from the federal government.

“In the most recent legislative assembly HB 818 was enacted to amend in part Va. Code Section 2.2-3704.1 and to enact new section 2.2-3704.2,” Williams said.

“Both of these enactments impact every locality place some additional responsibilities on the localities.”

With the new requirements, the city must provide a link on the homepage of its website to a “plain English” written and non-technical document, using words of common everyday usage, explaining the rights of a requester and the procedures to obtain public records from the local public body.

The city is also required to now have a FOIA officer and provide contacts information on its website for that person.

The new requirements also state that the city should provide constitutional officers for local public bodies, which in Franklin’s case refers to the treasurer and the commissioner of the revenue offices.

Council approved that these changes be enacted, and chose Williams to be the FOIA officer, Brenda Rickman to be the constitutional officer for the commissioner of the revenue office and Dinah Babb to be the constitutional officer for the treasurer office.

All of their contact information, as well as the link to the document explaining FOIA rights and procedures, can be found on the City of Franklin’s website,