Private Investigators In Virginia

PI Chatter Professional Investigators in Virginia

VA FOIA-Access to Public Records

Posted by Bill on November 6, 2007

Virginia’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council, see http://dls.state.va.us/foiacouncil.htm, Personal Identifying Information Subcommittee is meeting on November 9, 2007, at 10 a.m. at the General Assembly Building, Speaker’s Conference Room, 6th Floor, Richmond, VA.  Last year, nine bills covering six topics were referred to the FOIA Council from the 2007 Session of the General Assembly.  All of the bills concerned issues about personal identifying information.  The bills are among laws and other rules being considered to prevent personal identifying data from appearing in public records.  The Virginia Supreme Court formed a Committee on Access to Court Records in 2006 that proposed changes to court rules that would make it more difficult to access public court records.

Of course, in most bills and rule changes no exemption or exception is provided for duly, registered private investigators or private security business licensees to have unfettered access to the records for legitimate business purposes.  When Virginia adopted the Drivers Protection act Private Security Business Licensees, via a compliance agent, were allowed access to DMV information.  Of course, access is for official business purposes outline in the Virginia Code.

In many of the bills pending in the Virginia General Assembly, no provision is made allowing legitimate private security businesses access to restricted records.  The private investigation industry definitely has an interest in access to public records.   If anyone knows about other legislation or other attempts by the Virginia General Assembly to cut off access to public records, let us know.  Meanwhile if you can attend the meeting on November 9, please do so.  It will be very educational.  Two PIAVA members plan on attending the meeting–Nicole Bocra of Infinity Investigations, Arlington, VA, www.infinityinvestigations.com and Jim Schmidt, Schmidt and Associates LLC, Glen Allen, VA, 804-364-8983, both excellent investigators.  Contact either Nicole or Jim if you want to meet them in Richmond.

Keep asking questions.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

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