Update from VLA's Legislative Committee regarding the Virginia General Assembly

The Virginia General Assembly convened its regular legislative session today at noon. VLA’s Legislative Committee would like to provide you with an update regarding some recently introduced legislation.

VLA’s Legislative Committee met Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, to discuss two recently introduced bills in the Virginia General Assembly, HB 336 and HB 129.

HB 129 expands the options for public notification of meetings. The members agreed that this was not an issue on which VLA needed to take a position.

HB 336 gives libraries and localities the ability to exempt the library registration records of minors from Freedom of Information Act requests. However, access to these kinds of records would still be possible for parents or guardians of minors.

The Legislative Committee recommends that HB 336 be referred to the FOIA Advisory Council for consideration as part of its ongoing study;

-     observes that a reasonable solution might be to require every library system to have an explicit policy about the release of the library records of minors to parents and guardians that also addresses release of those records to people other than parents and guardians;

-     stands ready to work with the FOIA Advisory Council and others to develop a solution to the problems addressed by HB 336.

The Legislative Committee will continue to monitor these bills and others, and we will continue to send updates to VLA during the 2016 Session of the General Assembly.

Tom Shepley and John Ulmschneider, Co-Chairs, on behalf of VLA Legislative Committee

January 13, 2016