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2021 Op. Va. Att'y Gen. 1 (2021)

handle is hein.sag/sagva0146 and id is 1 raw text is: COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Office of the Attorney General
Mark R. Herring                                                                             202 North Ninth Street
Attorney General                                                                          Richmond, Virginia 23219
Fax 804-786-1991
Virginia Relay Services
January 10, 2021                                   800-828-1120
The Honorable Richard L. Saslaw
Member, Senate of Virginia
Post Office Box 1856
Springfield, Virginia 22151-0856
Dear Senator Saslaw:
I am responding to your request for an official advisory opinion pursuant to § 2.2-505 of the Code
of Virginia.
Issue Presented
You ask whether Item 4-0.01 in House Bill 5005 (the current Appropriations Act) permits the
Senate of Virginia to meet during an emergency with some members physically present and other
members participating electronically.
In an opinion issued to Speaker of the House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn in May of last year,
this Office concluded that under Items 4-0.01 of the Appropriations Acts in place at the time,' the General
Assembly was permitted to meet electronically during an emergency, provided the conditions in those
Items were met. Your question differs from Speaker Filler-Corn's inquiry in that you ask whether the
Senate of Virginia may meet during an emergency with some members physically present and others
participating electronically under Item 4-0.01 of the current Appropriations Act (House Bill 5005).
Statutory Background
Item 4-0.01 in House Bill 5005 (the current Appropriation Act) reads, in relevant part:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any public body, including any state, local,
regional, or regulatory body, or a governing board as defined in § 54.1-2345 of the Code
of Virginia, or any joint meeting of such entities, may meet by electronic communication
means without a quorum of the public body or any member of the governing board
physically assembled at one location when the Governor has declared a state of
emergency in accordance with § 44-146.17, provided that (i) the nature of the declared
'That is, House Bills 29 and 30 of 2020 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
2 2020 Op. Va. Att'y Gen. No. 20-024, available at https://www.oag.state.va.us/citizen-resources/opinions/
official-opinions/30-resource/opinions/1632-2020-official-opinions#may (issued May 6, 2020).

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