Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005

HJR 6: Joint Subcommittee Studying Electronic Records and their impact on the VA Public Records Act and the State Publications Depository Program

October 7, 2005

The joint subcommittee met on October 7, 2005, in Richmond.


The members reviewed a draft that made changes to the State Publications Depository
Program that was circulated at the previous meeting, and approved in concept. The joint subcommittee unanimously voted to give the draft final approval and to recommend the legislation to the 2006 Session of the General Assembly. The bill makes changes that will allow the Library of Virginia (the Library) to effectively and efficiently continue to administer the existing depository program while allowing it to make the changes necessary to collect and make available electronic state agency publications. The text of the proposal is available on the joint subcommittee's website.


The joint subcommittee next turned its attention to the Virginia Public Records Act. A work group consisting of Senator Brandon J. Bell, Rosanna Bencoach, and Conley Edwards held a meeting in advance of the joint subcommittee's meeting. They discussed with interested members of the public initial changes to the Public Records Act in regards to electronic records. The report from the work group recommended adding definitions such as "conversion," "migration," and "metadata" to the act, and that "electronic record" be defined as "a public record whose creation, storage, and access requires the use of an automated system or device." Recommendations also included a requirement that an agency be responsible for migrating and converting public records over the course of their lifecycle so as to ensure continued access to those records.

The joint subcommittee adopted these recommendations in concept, and discussed several other key policy issues. The members decided that amendments should be made to the Public Records Act to require the Library Board to adopt regulations-which carry the force and effect of law and must be promulgated under the Administrative Process Public Records Act-concerning essential matters relating to records management, and to use guidelines for other less essential matters.

In addition, it was suggested that the creation of an intra-agency advisory committee be created to assist the Library Board in establishing electronic records regulations and guidelines. Such an advisory committee might be comprised of representatives from the Library, VITA, the Attorney General's Office, and state and local agencies. The issue of enforcement of the Public Records Act was also discussed. It was generally felt that there is nothing to mandate compliance. Some members of the committee felt that taking an educational approach with a goal of ensuring that all agencies are aware of the Public Records Act's requirements would be a good first step. Some members voiced concern that this may not go far enough.

Staff was directed to continue to work on these issues, as well as to identify other issues involving the Public Records Act that might require the joint subcommittee's attention.


Staff will hold a meeting with all interested parties to continue to discuss public records act issues on October 31, 2005. The next meeting of the joint subcommittee will be November 7, 2005, at 2:00 p.m. in Richmond.

The Hon. M. Kirkland Cox

For information, contact:
Lisa Wallmeyer and Patrick Cushing
DLS Staff



Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005 

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