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

July 29, 2005

The Joint Subcommittee Studying Electronic Records and their impact on the Virginia Public Records Act and the State Publications Depository Program (HJ 6) met on July 29, 2005.


In the morning, a workgroup of the joint subcommittee met to prepare a proposal relating to the State Publications Depository Program. Delegate Ryan McDougle, Bill Wilson, Valerie Jean Mayo, and Conley Edwards had been appointed to serve on the workgroup. In addition, representatives from the Library of Virginia (the Library), the Depository Library System, the press, and state and local agencies attended and participated in the workgroup discussions.

At the first meeting of the year, the joint subcommittee had decided that the various statutory provisions relating to the Depository Program should be gathered into one chapter in Title 42.1 and that the new chapter should include a statement of policy and intent for the program. The joint subcommittee identified several other issues for the workgroup's consideration, such as amending the definition of a publication to include electronic publications, deciding whether localities should be required to send publications to the depository libraries, and considering if there should be any penalty for state agencies that do not send publications to the Library.

The workgroup developed a draft of the State Publications Depository Program to propose to the joint subcommittee. The recommendations included defining "publication" to include all documents, regardless of physical form or characteristics, created for research or informational use by the public. The workgroup decided to require that state agencies send copies of all of its publications to the Library and that local and regional agencies should only be required to send copies of specific publications upon request. To encourage compliance, the workgroup recommended a new reporting requirement, under which the Library would annually report to the Governor and the chairmen of the House and Senate General Laws, House Appropriations, and Senate Finance those agencies who do not send the required publications to the Library. Finally, the workgroup recommended repealing the requirement that the Library compile an annual listing of publications printed by each agency during the last fiscal year. Discussion indicated that this effort was duplicative of the requirement that the Library publish a catalog of publications. The Library reported that it had only received two requests for this information over the last ten years. The workgroup left open for the joint subcommittee's consideration whether a definition of a "depository library" should be included in the proposal. The workgroup felt that this was a policy decision, as the role and number of the depository libraries may change as more publications are available electronically.


The joint subcommittee adopted the workgroup's proposal in concept and recommended to not include a specific definition of a "depository library." The committee briefly discussed whether language should also be included to underscore that the Depository Program was not meant in anyway to undermine what records are available for public inspection and copying under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The joint subcommittee instructed staff to prepare a final version of the proposal for review before the next joint subcommittee meeting. A copy of the proposal is available on the study webpage at http://dls.state.va.us/PRA.htm.


The joint subcommittee next received a presentation on available technology for electronic records management and archiving from Andy Sitison, Managing Consultant for ILM/Compliance with EMC Corporation. EMC currently works with several state and local entities in providing electronic records services. The presentation focused on how technology can be used to enhance records management and archiving services.


The joint subcommittee next turned its attention to the Public Records Act. The Library of Virginia had publicly circulated a conceptual proposal relating to electronic records and archiving prior to the meeting and had solicited feedback on the proposal. Members of the joint subcommittee and the public were provided with a copy of the proposal and the comments. It was decided that because the issues relating to electronic records and the Public Records Act were complex and numerous, staff should hold a series of workgroups to meet with interested parties to discuss proposals and ideas. These ideas would then be reported to a more formal workgroup tasked with making recommendations to the joint subcommittee. Delegate Cox appointed Senator Houck, Senator Bell, Rosanna Bencoach, and Conley Edwards to serve on the Public Records Act workgroup.


The first staff workgroup regarding electronic records and the Public Records Act will meet on August 24, 2005, at 9:30 a.m. in the fifth floor conference room of the General Assembly Building.
Interested parties are invited to participate.

The next meeting of the joint subcommittee has not been scheduled and will appear on the study website when available.

The Hon. M. Kirkland Cox

For information, contact:
Lisa Wallmeyer, DLS Staff



Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005 

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