Associated Press Published

Gov. Tomblin Signs Bill to Expand FOIA


 Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill expanding some access of public records, while eliminating public disclosure of who owns concealed carry permits.

The Democrat approved the legislation Wednesday.

The bill exempts names, addresses and details of who has concealed handgun permits from Freedom of Information Act requests.

Meanwhile, it requires the secretary of the state to maintain a database of FOIA requests.

It says records requests can carry a charge based on the cost of reproducing materials, not on man hours.

It says access to public records should be presumed, minus exemptions.

The bill clarifies how public record is defined to include documents received by a public body, instead of just prepared by one.

The West Virginia Press Association applauded the expanded access, but opposed the firearms exemption.