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2003 Official Opinions*

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  They are not "rulings" and do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general. 

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505). A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.

*Section 2.2-505 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Attorney General of Virginia to render official opinions to the Governor,  members of the General Assembly, judges, the State Corporation Commission, state agency heads, and certain local officials. The Honorable Jerry W. Kilgore was elected Attorney General by the citizens of Virginia and sworn into office on January 12, 2002 for a term of 4 years.  The Honorable Randolph A. Beales was elected Attorney General by the General Assembly on July 10, 2001, and was sworn into office on July 11, 2001, to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable Mark L. Earley upon his resignation on June 4, 2001.  The Honorable Mark L. Earley was sworn in as Attorney General at noon, January 17, 1998. The Honorable Richard Cullen served as Attorney General of Virginia from June 11, 1997, to January 17, 1998.  The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III, served as Attorney General during 1996 until his resignation on June 11, 1997.

December

Opinion # Requestor Summary
03-078 The Honorable John W. Marshall
Secretary of Public Safety
Broad powers of Governor, in event of declared emergency, to require state agencies to work together with private sector to protect citizens of Commonwealth. Sharing of information and intelligence collected by Intelligence and Information ‘Fusion’ Center with public and private entities. Discretionary dissemination of matter that is not law-enforcement sensitive by custodian to necessary parties when no emergency has been declared. Certain law-enforcement data may be disseminated only to criminal justice agencies. Immunity available to participating private entities in event of formally declared emergency. Determination whether sovereign immunity applies to private entities in absence of formally declared emergency depends on capacity in which entities were acting and whether acts are performed under direction and control of Commonwealth, based on nature of, and state’s interest in, function to be performed.
     

03-089 

The Honorable Mark L. Cole
Member, House of Delegates
Entry on Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry of name of individual acquitted of criminal charges related to child abuse and neglect does not constitute double jeopardy violation.
     

03-090

Ms. Sara Redding Wilson, Director
Department of Human Resource Management
Certain individuals entitled to health benefits under Line of Duty Act may receive those benefits through state health benefits program. 
     

03-097

The Honorable E. Carter Nettles, Jr.
Commonwealth’s Attorney for Sussex County
Jurisdiction of Waverly police department in criminal cases involving offenses against Commonwealth extends 1 mile beyond town corporate limits. Because corporate authorities have no jurisdiction to enforce town ordinances outside corporate limits of town, town of Waverly is not entitled to fines collected for violations of state law occurring outside its corporate limits. 
     

03-103

The Honorable S. Lee Morris
Chief Judge, Portsmouth General District Court
Judge has discretion to briefly delay civil commitment hearing to better provide due process for temporarily detained patient who cannot safely be brought for hearing within prescribed 48-hour time frame, to close hearing for good cause and conduct proceedings in patient’s holding room without public present, or to conduct hearing outside patient’s presence if patient’s interests are adequately represented by counsel; may conduct hearing via video conferencing. Retired general district court judge may conduct civil commitment hearings when recalled to duty by Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Virginia or designated to hear and dispose of action by chief district judge. 
     

03-105

 The Honorable Martin E. Williams
Member, Senate of Virginia
Chapter 816 creates affirmative defense to criminal acts, but not civil findings, of child abuse and neglect.
     

03-108

The Honorable John C. Watkins
Member, Senate of Virginia
Neither Virginia Constitution nor applicable state statutes allow local governing body to adopt adequate public facilities ordinance that binds, directly or indirectly, future governing body to fund capital improvements program at specific level and authorizes approval of proposed development project to be deferred for specified number of years.
     

03-109

The Honorable John C. Watkins
Member, Senate of Virginia
General Assembly must enact express statutory authorization for local governing body to deny rezoning request solely on basis of lack of adequate public facilities and services to meet needs generated by development of rezoned property.
     

03-122

The Honorable William J. Howell
Speaker of the House
National Bank Act preempts Virginia Banking Act to extent state statutes prohibit national bank from serving as executor, administrator, or testamentary trustee in Virginia.
     

 

 

 

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2004 Official Opinions*

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  They are not "rulings" and do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general. 

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505). A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.

*Section 2.2-505 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Attorney General of Virginia to render official opinions to the Governor,  members of the General Assembly, judges, the State Corporation Commission, state agency heads, and certain local officials. The Honorable Jerry W. Kilgore was elected Attorney General by the citizens of Virginia and sworn into office on January 12, 2002 for a term of 4 years.  The Honorable Randolph A. Beales was elected Attorney General by the General Assembly on July 10, 2001, and was sworn into office on July 11, 2001, to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable Mark L. Earley upon his resignation on June 4, 2001.  The Honorable Mark L. Earley was sworn in as Attorney General at noon, January 17, 1998. The Honorable Richard Cullen served as Attorney General of Virginia from June 11, 1997, to January 17, 1998.  The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III, served as Attorney General during 1996 until his resignation on June 11, 1997.

December

Opinion # Requestor Summary
04-038 The Honorable H. Morgan Griffith
Majority Leader, House of Delegates
Telephone calls made by foundation to general public for sole purpose of requesting donations of used clothing, or other items such as household goods, for subsequent sale by foundation to public to raise funds for foundation are not ‘telephone solicitation call[s]’ as defined by Act. 
     
04-055 The Honorable Ronald S. Hallman
City Attorney for the City of Chesapeake
If landowner has recorded perpetual easement held by locality devoted to open-space use, locality has no discretion and must grant open-space tax assessment to parcel so encumbered. If landowner proffers agreement not to change use of land, locality has discretion to accept, reject, or negotiate modification of agreement with landowner. Wetlands mitigation banks not otherwise wholly exempt from local real estate taxation must be assessed in same manner as similarly situated and classified property. Local tax assessor may require owners of wetlands mitigation banks to furnish certified statements of income and expenses attributable to such property. 
     
04-078 Mr. Larry W. Davis
Attorney for Albemarle County
Lots, which are not ‘subdivision’ per ordinance, created after July 1, 1983, by recorded plat subject to ordinance may be aggregated to meet land-use taxation minimum acreage requirements. Local taxing official must assess back taxes and rollback taxes for 3 preceding tax years; may correct property valuation error subject to rollback taxes within 3 years of such assessment. 
     
04-080 Mr. Roger D. Brooks
Attorney for Town of Independence
Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act authorizes town of Independence to create Virginia water authority in conjunction with Grayson County, Virginia, town of Sparta, North Carolina, and Alleghany County, North Carolina. 
     

 

 

 

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2005 Official Opinions*

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  They are not "rulings" and do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general. 

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505). A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.

*Section 2.2-505 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Attorney General of Virginia to render official opinions to the Governor,  members of the General Assembly, judges, the State Corporation Commission, state agency heads, and certain local officials. The Honorable Jerry W. Kilgore was elected Attorney General by the citizens of Virginia and sworn into office on January 12, 2002 for a term of 4 years.  The Honorable Randolph A. Beales was elected Attorney General by the General Assembly on July 10, 2001, and was sworn into office on July 11, 2001, to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable Mark L. Earley upon his resignation on June 4, 2001.  The Honorable Mark L. Earley was sworn in as Attorney General at noon, January 17, 1998. The Honorable Richard Cullen served as Attorney General of Virginia from June 11, 1997, to January 17, 1998.  The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III, served as Attorney General during 1996 until his resignation on June 11, 1997.

December

Opinion # Requestor

Summary

05-033 The Honorable Mitchell Van Yahres
Member, House of Delegates 
No authority for locality to supplement salaries of public defender or his staff.
     
05-064 The Honorable Terry G. Kilgore
Member, House of Delegates 
Whether electric utility customer located in service territory of electric utility may obtain service from another electric utility through metering point in adjacent service territory is determination for State Corporation Commission.
     
05-073 Mr. J. Thompson Shrader
Amherst County Attorney 
Commissioner of revenue may not enter into agreement with commissioner of revenue in adjacent locality to change taxing jurisdiction of landowner’s property from one locality to other locality; any such agreement is void.
     

*Section 2.2-505 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Attorney General of Virginia to render official opinions to the Governor,  members of the General Assembly, judges, the State Corporation Commission, state agency heads, and certain local officials. The Honorable Jerry W. Kilgore was elected Attorney General by the citizens of Virginia and sworn into office on January 12, 2002 for a term of 4 years.  The Honorable Randolph A. Beales was elected Attorney General by the General Assembly on July 10, 2001, and was sworn into office on July 11, 2001, to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable Mark L. Earley upon his resignation on June 4, 2001.  The Honorable Mark L. Earley was sworn in as Attorney General at noon, January 17, 1998. The Honorable Richard Cullen served as Attorney General of Virginia from June 11, 1997, to January 17, 1998.  The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III, served as Attorney General during 1996 until his resignation on June 11, 1997.

 

 

 

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2006 Official Opinions

Official opinions will be posted as they are issued, generally within 24 to 48 hours. Please check this page at regular intervals to determine whether additional opinions have been issued.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Official opinions represent the attorney general’s analysis of current law based on his thorough research of existing statutes, the Virginia and United States constitutions, and relevant court decisions.  They are not "rulings" and do not create new law, nor do they change existing law.  Creating and amending laws are the responsibility of the General Assembly, not the attorney general. 

Official opinions are legal advice, not personal opinions, and do not reflect the attorney general’s personal views about what the law should be.  Such advice is provided to ensure clients/the requester are in compliance with the law.  While the opinions may be given deference by the courts, they are not binding on the courts.

The official opinions issued by the attorney general are part of the duties of the office (see Code § 2.2-505). A person authorized by statute, such as the governor, a member of the General Assembly, a constitutional officer, or the head of a state agency, can ask the attorney general for an official opinion on the law. Members of the general public are not authorized to ask for opinions.

December

Opinion # Requestor Summary
05-095 The Honorable William H. Fralin, Jr.
Member, House of Delegates
Section 63.2‑905 does not mandate that mental health services be provided; rather it defines term foster care services. Comprehensive Services Act addresses requirements for provision of services, which incorporates definition of foster care services. Act mandates provision of such foster care services by state and locality to prevent foster care placements when child is abused and neglected or child is in need of services. Statutory and constitutional provisions require that CSA-mandated mental health services be provided to eligible children in need of such services without their parents having to relinquish custody to local social services agencies.
     
06-052

The Honorable Gabriel A. Morgan
Sheriff of the City of Newport News

The Honorable B.J. Roberts
Sherif of the City of Hampton

Inmates’ canteen fund may be used to make direct or indirect payments to faith-based organizations when such organizations provide rehabilitation services, education programs, and counseling; when requested by inmate, organization may provide spiritual guidance, including Bibles and other religious materials.
     
06-077 The Honorable Harry B. Blevins
Member, Senate of Virginia
No direct obligation for contractor to provide certification regarding prior criminal convictions for employees; award of contract subject to employees providing such certification. Local school board must require certification prior to award of covered contract to meet mandate of statute. Direct contact with students limited to contractor and employees making certification. Contractor’s employees added during contract period must provide certifications prior to direct contact with students. Local school board should rely on definition of ‘services’ in Virginia Public Procurement Act in determining scope of responsibilities under § 22.1‑296.1(C). Natural or non-natural person is ‘contractor’ within meaning of § 22.1‑296.1. Anyone having knowledge of materially false certification may report information to local school board, local law enforcement authorities, or appropriate Commonwealth’s attorney for prosecution; may also report to respective licensing agency. Whether certain crime involves moral turpitude depends on facts and nature of crime; crimes involving dishonesty do involve moral turpitude.
     
06-088 The Honorable John R. Newhart
Sheriff, City of Chesapeake
Authority for sheriff to place prisoner on home/electronic incarceration while prisoner is serving mandatory minimum sentence.