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2014 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

14-012 Honorable Terry G. Kilgore, Member, House of Delegates Guidance regarding the nature and treatment, including local taxation, of geothermal resources under Virginia law. 
     
14-022 Colonel W.S. Flaherty, Superintendent, Department of State Police

Guidance regarding the proper procedural steps a law enforcement officer must follow to obtain a blood sample pursuant to the implied consent law where the suspect has been transported to a medical facility for treatment. 

     
14-074

Honorable John T. Frey, Clerk of Court, Fairfax County Circuit Court

The decision in Bostic v. Rainey requires clerks of court to interpret the term “husband and wife” as used in § 58.1-810.3 to include spouses of the same sex.  Accordingly, a deed to which the only parties are married individuals, regardless of whether such individuals are of the same or opposite sex, is exempt from the Virginia Recordation Tax pursuant to § 58.1-810.3.
     
14-068 Walter C. Erwin, III, Esquire, City Attorney, City of Lynchburg An institution of higher education within a city may not allow its employees to operate utility vehicles on public highways within the institution’s property limits unless the city has designated and posted the highways for such use following an appropriate review.
     
14-064 Honorable Richard L. Morris, Member, House of Delegates

Under the facts presented, an absolute prohibition on political booths at a county fair is not constitutionally permissible and charging a higher fee for such booths than others is presumptively unconstitutional unless justified by a compelling governmental interest, and unless it is narrowly drawn to meet that interest.

     
14-056

Honorable Mark D. Obenshain, Member, Senate of Virginia

The State Board of Elections possesses the regulatory authority to define the term “valid” as used in § 24.2-643(B) of the Code of Virginia.
     
14-073 Honorable Robert G. Marshall, Member, House of Delegates

Virginia’s laws voiding bigamous marriages and criminalizing bigamy are constitutional; the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Bostic v. Schaefer does not invalidate §§ 18.2-362, 18.2-363, 20-38.1, 20-40, and 20-45.1 of the Code of Virginia, which prohibit bigamy by all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Also, bisexual and transgender Virginians, like all Virginians, have the right to marry the person they choose, so long as the marriage is otherwise lawful.