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Official Opinions


April 2011 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
11-034 The Honorable Joseph D. Morrissey
Member, House of Delegates
Because funds collected by localities in enforcing their traffic light laws do not constitute “fines for offenses against the Commonwealth,” the General Assembly constitutionally may permit localities to retain such funds.  
11-027 The Honorable John Barrett Chappell, Jr.
Clerk, Dinwiddie Circuit Court
The DCWA may record its liens prior to obtaining a judgment and without first seeking to collect such debt from any tenant who received services from the authority, provided DCWA follows certain statutory requirements. Therefore, the clerk’s office has no need to require proof of any such judgment or collection efforts.
11-043 The Honorable Mark L. Cole
Member, House of Delegates
Carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a good and sufficient reason under the statute to carry a weapon into a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held there, yet places of worship can restrict or ban firearms from their premises. 
11-022 The Honorable Albert C. Pollard, Jr.
Member, House of Delegates
The effect of Senate Bill 1111 is to establish a sunset date of July 1, 2016 for persons with an economic interest in coal who have received tax credits from an electricity generator to redeem these tax credits.  If Senate Bill 1111 becomes law, generators of electricity can continue to rely on these tax credits after July 1, 2016
11-032 The Honorable J. Chapman Petersen
Member, Senate of Virginia
The prohibition on hunting on Sundays does not transgress the constitutional right to hunt and fish.