Jason S. Miyares
Attorney General of Virginia

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2021 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.



Opinion #



20-064 Honorable Ghazala F. Hashmi, Member, Senate of Virginia The Environmental Justice Act not only sets forth a policy of the Commonwealth, but also imposes specific, enforceable duties on the Commonwealth to ensure that the policy is carried out. Therefore, the Director of DEQ must ensure that environmental justice, as defined in the Act, is carried out when making his determinations about a landfill permit under the Virginia Waste Management Act.
21-027 Honorable Paul Walther, Commonwealth's Attorney, Culpeper County Based on definitions in the Virginia Code, some farm utility vehicles and some utility vehicles would also be considered all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).  Those farm utility vehicles and utility vehicles that are considered ATVs would be eligible for the exception provided for in § 46.2‑915.1, which provides that ATVs being used in conjunction with farming activities may be driven on public highways.
21-018 Adam R. Kinsman, Esq., James City County Attorney The Williamsburg Tourism Council may exercise those powers that are not contrary to § 58.1-603.2 and other state laws and that are appropriate ways to accomplish the purposes the General Assembly set out in § 58.1-603.2.  Additionally, the Tourism Council remains a separate entity from the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance (GWCTA).
21-061/21-071 Honorable Jennifer B. Boysko, Member, Senate of Virginia; and The Honorable Suhas Subramanyam, Member, Virginia House of Delegates Local governments may include provisions for a neutral Labor Relations Administrator who can only be terminated prior to the expiration of his or her contract by mutual agreement of the locality's management and its employee unions in collective bargaining ordinances enacted under § 40.1-57.2.  Local governments may also include such provisions whether or not an employee union has been certified.  Finally, the inclusion of a binding arbitration provision in a collective bargaining ordinance is a reasonable method to resolve negotiation impasses over non-financial issues and does not violate the Dillon Rule.
21-086 Honorable T. Travis Hackworth, Member, Senate of Virginia Under the Dillon rule of strict construction, a locality does not have the authority to issue tax credits to citizens who choose to homeschool or send their children to private school.
21-046 Honorable Joseph D. Morrissey, Member, Senate of Virginia Pursuant to guidance issued by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), piece-rate employees are covered by the Virginia Overtime Wage Act.
21-020 Honorable M. Keith Hodges, Member, Virginia House of Delegates Gloucester County Sales Tax revenues are to be used to fund capital projects for "new construction or major renovation” of Gloucester's public schools and not for debt mitigation. 
21-068 Honorable Harold W. Clarke, Director, Virginia Department of Corrections Answers to various questions about the application of House Bill 5148, which amends § 53.1-202.3 to provide for a new earned sentence credit rate schedule.
21-093 Honorable Paul E. Krizek, Member, Virginia House of Delegates Local governments may include provisions in collective bargaining agreements that allow for employee pay raises over a multi-year period.  However, these pay raises would remain subject to annual appropriations by the locality, which may or may not appropriate the requisite amount of funds each year.
20-057 Honorable Nicholas J. Freitas, Member, Virginia House of Delegates The religious exemption for childhood vaccinations contained in § 32.1-36(D), remains applicable during an epidemic unless the epidemic is directly related to a required vaccine-preventable disease.  Parents or guardians choosing to obtain a religious exemption would not be subject to the penalties prescribed in § 32.1-27 for failure to immunize their children with the vaccines outlined in § 32.1-36.

Honorable Robert P. Mosier, Fauquier County Sheriff

Law enforcement personnel are authorized to enter a residence and take a person into custody for the execution of an emergency custody order so long as there are sufficient grounds that the abode is the residence of the subject of the order and there is reason to believe that the subject is within the residence at the time of entry.  If the abode is the residence of a third party, then law enforcement must obtain a search warrant before entering the residence to take custody of the subject of the order.


Honorable Thomas K. Norment Jr., Member, Senate of Virginia

Pursuant to Va. Code §§ 18.2-270(B)(2) and 18.2-270(B)(3), the mandatory minimum fine for a second offense of driving while intoxicated committed within five to 10 years of a prior offense, when the offender has a blood alcohol level of .15 or more, is $1,000.