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Official Opinions


October 2010 Opinions
Please click on Opinion number to view entire opinion.

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.  Official opinions 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.


Requestor Summary

The Honorable W.R. “Randy” Hamilton Sheriff, City of Buena Vista


The regional jail board membership specified in
§ 53.1-106 controls over the agreement among the localities, and Rockbridge County can continue to appoint two members to serve on the Board.

Stephen MacIsaac, Esqiore
County Attorney, Arlington County



Under the plain language of
§ 58.1-3210, an individual who is employed full-time and who continues to earn a substantial salary is engaged in “substantial gainful activity” and is, therefore, ineligible for tax relief under
§ 58.1-3210.

The Honorable Robert G. Marshall
Member, House of Delegates 

An appropriations act is required for the expenditure of revenues of the Commonwealth, including grant funds from the United States government. Where, as here, the General Assembly has provided for the appropriation of such funds, the Governor lawfully may disburse such funds. The Governor may provide the "assurance" required by federal law concerning 2011 spending, because the General Assembly has enacted the 2011 budget. Whether the Governor lawfully can accept such funding in the future by providing the required "assurance" of funding levels in subsequent years depends upon whether such a pledge represents a political commitment by the Governor or a legal pledge purporting to bind the General Assembly. The Governor may provide a political pledge to use his best efforts to secure a particular level of funding. The Governor may not, acting on his own, bind the General Assembly to provide future spending.

10-095 The Honorable R. Edward Houck
Member, Senate of Virginia
Based on the facts presented, the hypothetical scenarios described would constitute illegal gambling because the elements of prize, chance and consideration are present.
10-024 Michael F. McClellan Carrico, Esq., Town Attorney for Town of Gate City Municipalities may enact an ordinance exempting a charitable organization or association from the payment of utility charges as a donation pursuant to § 15.2-953.
10-084 The Honorable Jill H. Vogel, Member Senate of Virginia

One of the three Virginia Pollution Abatement permits at issue is valid and not subject to appeal. The other two are being appealed as to one clause; unless the court should stay, suspend, or set aside one or both of these permits as to that clause, each remains valid and enforceable.

10-102 The Honorable Todd C. Gilbert, Member, House of Delegates Any permit issued by the Board for land application of sewage sludge must be in compliance with the applicable requirements of § 62.1-44.19:3.
10-104 Mr. Robin R. Lind, Secretary, Goochland County Electoral Board

When a general registrar knows an absentee voter has died prior to election day, but after having voted by absentee ballot, the registrar must cancel that voter's registration, and the absentee ballot should not be counted; but that in those circumstances in which absentee ballots are cast prior to election day in a manner by which the absentee ballot no longer can be set aside, the general registrar who knows of the voter's death shall cancel that voter's registration, but election officials are not otherwise required to perform the impossible task of not counting the deceased voter's ballot.

10-046 Mr. G. William Thomas, Secretary, Electoral Board for the City of Richmond

Neither Virginia nor federal law requires an officer of election to be posted outside a polling place at all times the polls are open on election day in order to assist elderly and disabled voters who prefer to vote outside the polling place pursuant to § 24.2-649, a procedure commonly known as "curbside voting." Furthermore, the legal requirement for officers of election to assist such voters with curbside voting is triggered upon the voter making a request for such service.