FOIA Advisor

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Q&A: FOIA for Virginia residents only?

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.   I submitted a FOIA request to a public university in Virginia, but it was denied because I am not a Virginia resident. I find it rather odd that only those living in Virginia can have their FOIA request honored.  Is the university giving me a correct reason with a legal basis?  I haven't seen anything to indicate that geography is a dispositive factor in the approval of a FOIA request.

A.  The university's response is correct.  The U.S Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2014 that Virginia may restrict FOIA requests to State residents.  See also Laura Kebede, Supreme Court rules Va. can deny out-of-state FOIA use, Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 22, 2014.