RIGHT TO KNOW

Where should the proposed landfill be located?Who is the most qualified candidate to be the new school superintendent?How much did it cost to implement that program?Politic me would say in response to all three questions, “I really don’t know.”Impolitic me would say, “I really don’t care.”That is, I don’t...
Two recently created cabinet-level positions in Gov. Ralph Northam's office would gain a broad exemption from Virginia's public-records laws under a bill advanced Tuesday by a House of Delegates committee.The legislation would extend the Virginia Freedom of Information Act's working papers and correspondence exemption, often criticized by open-government advocates...
If there is a silver lining to a clunky yet frenetic mostly-virtual General Assembly session, it is that there are fewer bills to sift through: 1,098 bills and resolutions this year compared with 3,911 last year. Consequently, there are also fewer bills affecting the Freedom of Information Act and...
In 2016, Virginia-based immigration lawyer Hassan Ahmad sent the University of Michigan a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to access sealed papers donated to the university by John Tanton, a prominent anti-immigration activist from Michigan.But the public university denied the request until 2035.After years of lower court battles...
The Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council on Wednesday declared its support for loosening state laws on electronic meetings, backing legislation to give members of local boards more leeway to call in to public meetings instead of attending in person.Supporters of the change, which still has to be approved...
Police in Virginia almost never release case files and body camera footage, even long after their investigations have concluded.A bill aimed at changing that failed during the special legislative session, which concluded last week. But lawmakers are already working to revise the legislation in response to concerns raised by...
In a tumultuous 2020, when it seems like everything is fraying at the seams, there are still certainties.Death. Taxes.And Virginia officials flouting the spirit and letter of the state's Freedom of Information Act — which says it "ensures the people of the commonwealth ready access to public records in...
If open-government advocates have their way in Richmond, relatives of crime victims and the news media may finally learn more details about a host of violent incidents – many that are several years old and votes of the State Parole Board will be pulled into the light of day.It’s...
I’m no expert on the art of policing. Beyond my personal opinions, I couldn’t tell you when the use of force is or isn’t appropriate, or to what extent police officers should be immune from lawsuits for their actions. I wouldn't know how much militarized equipment is necessary or...
Last month, as it was becoming apparent that Virginia was lagging other states in testing capacity and struggling to procure enough protective gear for long-term care facilities, first responders and hospitals, Gov. Ralph Northam's administration announced it had reached a deal with global consulting firm McKinsey and Company to...