Virginia Freedom of Information Act

The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located § 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.  Exemptions may be found in VA 2.2-3705 (1-8)

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

  • You have the right to request to inspect or receive copies of public records, or both.
  • You have the right to request that any charges for the requested records be estimated in advance.
  • If you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated, you may file a petition in district or circuit court to compel compliance with FOIA.
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 VA 2.2-3704 of the Code of Virginia.

According to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),  a citizen  does not have to cite the act nor be required to complete any request forms.  However, in order to provide accurate information the Town does suggest making the request in writing, and has provided a request form that applicants can complete and submit, if they so choose.  The Town of Haymarket's FOIA Officer is the Town Manager, Kimberly Murray; she can be reached via email at kmurray@townofhaymarket.org or by calling 703-753-2600.