On September 7, the Alliance joined a brief in Citizens for Fauquier County v. Town of Warrenton, filed in the Virginia Court of Appeals. The case is a public records case, in which the town of Warrenton denied a records request for the disclosure of records about recent changes to Virginia zoning laws amid an application by Amazon to use land in the town for a data center. The Town claimed executive privilege under the “working papers and correspondence” exemption in Virginia’s FOIA statute. Citizens for Fauquier County (“CFC”), a non-profit environmental organization, sued to compel the Town to release the requested records, which the lower court denied, and CFC appealed. The brief, filed by RCFP, argues that the exemption should be narrowly interpreted to be consistent with the goal of Virginia’s FOIA statute and that courts should not apply the exemption without conducting fact-finding, to ensure journalists and others have adequate and much-needed access to public records. Read more.
Charlotte McBirney is Senior Counsel and Director, Public Policy for the News/Media Alliance.