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Official Opinions


June 2012 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.  They are not "rulings" and 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


The Honorable Mark L. Cole
Member, House of Delegates

A locality may provide funds raised through taxation to either the Virginia Association of Counties or the Virginia Municipal League. 


Ms. Ida O. McPherson, Director
Department of Minority Business Enterprise

The Department of Minority Business Enterprise may not certify a Florida-based firm as a “small business” in Virginia, because Florida makes a “minority business enterprise” certification available to certain small businesses based in Florida but does not permit similar businesses based in Virginia to apply for that certification or its associated benefits.


The Honorable Judy L. Worthington
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Chesterfield County

The Code of Virginia does not permit a judgment debtor to present a circuit court clerk a release of a judgment for entry without the court granting a motion made pursuant to § 8.01-455. The second question is moot. The final inquiry, whether or not a clerk would be entitled to the protections of sovereign immunity, is a fact-specific question that cannot be answered in the abstract. 


The Honorable Robert B. Bell
Member, House of Delegates

Fourth Amendment protections are rights attaching to persons that can be asserted only by them either directly or through an association, and the Attorney General lacks standing to bring such a claim on behalf of citizens of the Commonwealth.


The Honorable Eugene C. Wingfield
Clerk of Court, Lynchburg Circuit Court

In a civil case, after a check received in the course of the clerk’s duties is returned, the clerk of a circuit court cannot assess a fee related to the returned check. 


William C. Shelton, Director
Department of Housing & Community Development

A local, regional or consolidated housing authority may not operate throughout the entire Commonwealth without first meeting the requirements of § 36-23.


The Honorable David Ramadan
Member, House of Delegates

Any zoning ordinance that places heavier burdens or greater restrictions on temporary political signs than are placed on any other classification of temporary sign is pre-empted by state law, thereby rendering any such ordinance invalid.