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2009 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
09-086 Lucy E. Phillips, Esq.
Washington County Attorney

Authority for Virginia Highlands Airport Authority to exercise power of eminent domain to condemn trees in private cemetery to provide unobstructed airspace for purposes of air safety.

     
09-085 The Honorable Deborah F. Williams
Spotsylvania County Commissioner of the Revenue

Contiguous parcels of real estate, titled in same owner, may be combined to form tracts of at least twenty acres devoted to forest use and at least five acres devoted to agricultural use and are eligible for use value assessment. Parcel with mixed use may qualify for land use assessment provided each use acreage meets required minimum acreage.

     
09-080 The Honorable Mark C. Christie
Chairman, State Corporation Commission

Federal credit unions are exempt from tax on consumers of electricity imposed by § 58.1‑2900, including portion remitted to localities. Federally chartered credit union may be identified by its name, which is required to include words ‘Federal Credit Union.’

     
09-072 The Honorable John T. Frey
Fairfax Circuit Court Clerk

No statutory or equitable authority for court to affirm marriages that were not performed under license of marriage. Court may not direct circuit court clerk to issue marriage licenses retrospectively under these circumstances.