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Official Opinions


September 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.


Opinion # Requestor Summary


Mr. William A. Bell, Jr., Secretary
Isle of Wight County Electoral Board

A town councilman may serve on the county school board, provided all other eligibility requirements are met.


Honorable Douglas W. Domenech
Secretary, Department of Natural Resources

Article IV, § 16, which prohibits appropriations to charitable institutions not owned or controlled by the Commonwealth, applies to nonprofits that are devoted to land conservation. Furthermore, Article XI, §§ 1 and 2, which address land conservation, do not remove the specific bar on charitable appropriations. While the General Assembly cannot make appropriations in the nature of gifts to nonprofits engaged in land conservation, it can sign contracts or leases with such entities. A contract involves a bargained for exchange and mutual accountability. A grant that is in the nature of a gift does not satisfy constitutional requirements. Contracts with nonprofits that provide for land conservation and stewardship do not offend Article IV, § 16. Finally, it is impossible to answer questions regarding federal grants in the abstract.


The Honorable Terry G. Kilgore
Member, House of Delegates

A retailer who allows customers to use an on-premises machine to make roll-your-own cigarettes for that customer's personal use is not a "tobacco product manufacturer" under the Virginia Excrow Statute.


The Honorable Thomas K. Norment, Jr.
Member, Senate of Virginia

This opinion from July 9, 2008, is being published pursuant to §30-122(2) of the Code of Virginia.  In light of the recent actions and statements of Senator Thomas K. Norment, the attorney general has determined that this opinion is now of general interest to the public.