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Virginia Department of Planning and Budget
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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Rights & Responsibilities

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located at 2.2-3700 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.

A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.

The policy of FOIA states that the purpose 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 allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.

Your FOIA Rights

Making a Request for records from the Department of Planning and Budget

Direct Your Request to Michelle Vucci, Associate Director - Administrative Services.

She can be reached at the Department of Planning and Budget, 1111 East Broad Street, Room 5040, Richmond, VA 23219; Phone: (804)786-1817, FAX: (804)786-5214; Email: michelle.vucci@dpb.virginia.gov.

You may also contact her with questions you have concerning requesting records from the department. In addition, the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is available to answer any questions you may have about FOIA. The Council may be contacted by email at foiacouncil@leg.state.va.us, or by phone at (804) 225-3056 or toll free at 1-866-448-4100.

The Departments Responsibilities in Responding to Your Request

  1. We provide you with the records that you have requested in their entirety
  2. We withhold all of the records that you have requested, because all of the records are subject to a specific statutory exemption. If all of the records are being withheld, we must send you a response in writing. That writing must identify the volume and subject matter of the records being withheld, and state the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows us to withhold the records.
  3. We provide some of the records that you have requested, but withhold other records. We cannot withhold an entire record if only a portion of it is subject to an exemption. In that instance, we may redact the portion of the record that may be withheld, and must provide you with the remainder of the record. We must provide you with a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows portions of the requested records to be withheld.
  4. If it is practically impossible for the department to respond to your request within the five-day period, we must state this in writing, explaining the conditions that make the response impossible. This will allow us seven additional working days to respond to your request, giving us a total of 12 working days to respond to your request.

Costs

FOIA law states the following: "A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen as set forth in subsection F of § 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia."

Commonly used exemptions

The Code of Virginia allows any public body to withhold certain records from public disclosure. The department commonly withholds records subject to the following exemptions:

Other Requirements

The department also has some other requirements based on federal law.