WHEREAS, a well-informed citizenry is better prepared to fully participate in our representative democracy; and
WHEREAS, an open and accessible government is vital to establishing and maintaining citizen’s trust and confidence in government and in the government’s ability to effectively serve its citizens; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act is a tool by which citizens of the Commonwealth can obtain records in order to ensure accountability; and
WHEREAS, the provisions governing the meetings of public bodies in Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act allow the citizens of Virginia to observe their elected officials in action and aids in their understanding of the decisions made in the name of the people; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act, by its very policy statement, exists to ensure the people of the Commonwealth ready access to public records and free entry to meetings of public bodies wherein the business of the people is being conducted since, at all times, the public is to be the beneficiary of any action taken at any level of government; and
WHEREAS, in 1968, Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act was enacted; and
WHEREAS, the government of Virginia is committed to openness and transparency in all aspects of its operations and seeks to set a standard in this regard;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize the 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.