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Introduced Version Senate Bill 144 History

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Senate Bill No. 144

(By Senator Guills)


[Introduced February 9, 2005; referred to the Committee

on Government Organization; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]


A BILL to amend and reenact §6-9A-11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to giving precedential application to advisory opinions issued by the committee on open governmental meetings.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §6-9A-11 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§6-9A-11. Request for advisory opinion; maintaining confidentiality.

(a) Any governing body or member thereof subject to the provisions of this article may seek advice and information from the Executive Director of the West Virginia Ethics Commission or request in writing an advisory opinion from the West Virginia Ethics Commission Committee on open governmental meetings as to whether an action or proposed action violates the provisions of this article. The Executive Director may render oral advice and information upon request. The Committee shall respond in writing and in an expeditious manner to a request for an advisory opinion. The opinion shall be is binding on the parties requesting the opinion.
(b) Any governing body or member thereof that seeks an advisory opinion and acts in good faith reliance on the a written advisory opinion has an absolute defense to any civil suit or criminal prosecution for any action taken in good faith reliance on the opinion unless the Committee was willfully and intentionally misinformed as to the facts by the body or its representative.
(c) The Committee and Commission may take appropriate action to protect from disclosure information which is properly shielded by an exception provided for in section four of this article.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to give precedential application to written advisory opinions issued by the Ethics Commission's Committee on Open Government Proceedings.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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