Closed Meetings Under FOIA Turn Fifty: The Old, the New, and What to Do

Tyler C. Southall*

The Commonwealth of Virginia boasts the location of the first permanent English settlement in the nation and takes pride in its long history of meetings of representative bodies. Since 1968, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) has ensured the public access to those meetings in order to provide that “[t]he affairs of government are not intended to be conducted in an atmosphere of secrecy since at all times the public is to be the beneficiary of any action taken at any level of government.” Although FOIA allows meetings to be closed to the public for various topics of discussion,3 one might expect to find that given Virginia’s long history and the law’s expectations of openness, Virginians would have long ago reached agreement on the law and practice surrounding open and closed meetings. However, since the beginning of 2016, legislators have pushed stricter penalties for violating FOIA, an elite public university found itself in a firestorm over a closed meeting, the Supreme Court of Virginia weighed in on a closed meeting case, and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act Advisory Council (“FOIA Council”) issued opinions reminding government entities of the nuances of the law. In a political environment that has become increasingly contentious, elected and appointed officials have reason to fear for the legal, ethical, and political implications of their actions every time they enter a closed meeting.

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Virginia Ranks Forty-Ninth of Fifty: The Need for Stronger Laws Supporting Foster Youth

Nadine Marsh-Carter*, Bruin S. Richardson, III**, Laura Ash-Brackley*** & Cassie Baudeán Cunningham****

In 2017, 446 youths left the foster care system in Virginia without a permanent family. The most recent data shows that nationwide, approximately 20,500 youths leave the foster care system without a permanent family each year. Out of fifty states, Virginia is ranked forty-ninth for the rate at which youth exit the foster care system without permanency. In 2016, Virginia had 19% of foster youth age out of foster care as compared to 8% nationally.

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Private Ordering in the Old Dominion: A Solution to Frivolous Litigation or the Elimination of a Fundamental Shareholder Right?

Rebekah Briggs*

Shareholder litigation is an important mechanism in corporate law for holding directors accountable to shareholders. It provides a method by which shareholders can recover when directors breach their fiduciary duties to the shareholders or the corporation. Additionally, the threat of shareholder litigation acts as a deterrent to future management misconduct. Thus, the right to sue “forms part of the portfolio of monitoring and enforcement tools for policing whether managers are acting as loyal agents.”

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