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Release of legislative draft files

Effective July 1, 2017, Virginia Code § 30-28.18 (B) was amended to specify that the legislative draft files are property of the requester, to be released only with the specific approval of the requester. In the past, files after 1989 were open to the public if the legislation was enacted. The relevant section follows:

"B. All legislative drafting requests and accompanying documents shall be maintained by the Division as permanent records. Each of these separate files shall be considered the property of the requester and no one other than members of the Division staff shall have access to any such file without the specific approval of the requester."

The Division has created a form for seeking permission from owners of legislative drafting files to release such files. To obtain the contents of a legislative drafting file, please email your request (including Code section, bill number, chapter number and year) to Theresa Schmid at tschmid@dls.virginia.gov. Once you have submitted this information, we will forward a completed "request for release" form to the owner of the drafting file. We will inform you if the owner has granted permission to release the file. If permission is granted, we will forward the contents that have been approved for release.

Legislative history / Bill tracking information

Please be reminded that the legislative history of a bill can be found by searching the Legislative Information System (LIS). Keeping in mind that legislative intent is not officially recorded in Virginia, your research to piece together the intent of a section should include:

1. Searching for Reports to the General Assembly on a topic.

2. Searching for Fiscal Impact Statements for a bill, if applicable, through the LIS.

2. Videos of floor sessions from the House and Senate are archived on the General Assembly's website, beginning with the 2017 Session.

House video: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

Senate video: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

3. Searching newspaper articles, law review articles, journals or secondary sources relating to the legislation.

If you have questions, feel free to call Theresa Schmid, Research Associate, at (804) 698-1889, or Ginny Edwards, Director of Information and Resource Services, at (804) 698-1888.


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