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Official Opinions


April 2013 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 #




The Honorable Charles N. Dorsey, Judge
Twenty-third Judicial Circuit

Circuit Court may appoint a guardian ad litem in proceedings pending before the VWWC.


Cynthia E. Hudson, Esquire
City Attorney for the City of Hampton

The City of Hampton does not have the authority to grant a preference in the award of construction contracts procured by competitive sealed bidding to contractors who employ, or agree to grant hiring preference to, Hampton residents for work to be performed under the contract.  Further, the City may not impose a requirement in its construction contracts that the contractors give a preference for hiring Hampton residents for such work.


The Honorable S. Chris Jones
Member, House of Delegates

Because there is no available exemption to the prohibitions of Article VII, § 6 of the Constitution of Virginia and § 15.2-1535 of the Code of Virginia, neither the Mayor, Vice Mayor, or any other Hampton City Council member may be appointed by the Hampton City Council to serve as a member of the FMA Board.  Further, members of the FMA Board, as individuals holding public office, stand in a fiduciary relationship with the FMA and thus are subject to the common law duties of loyalty, care, obedience, and disclosure that are generally applicable to those in such a fiduciary relationship.  Finally, a FMA Board member who fails to fulfill his lawful duties may be removed from office in accordance with the Board’s by-laws and applicable law.


Ms. Evelyn McGill
Executive Director
Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission

The Commission is not authorized under current law to use funds in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund to purchase a new office building in which to house the headquarters of the Commission and the Director of CICF and her staff, but there is no constitutional or other legal impediment to the introduction of future legislation that would enable the Commission to utilize the Fund for such purposes.  Finally, effective July 1, 2013, the Commission is permitted to locate its headquarters outside the City of Richmond, provided the facility remains within the Commonwealth.


The Honorable Richard H. Black
Member, Senate of Virginia

While a definitive opinion cannot be rendered due to a lack of knowledge of all the pertinent and particular facts of a future case arising in Virginia, persuasive legal arguments exist to assert that the portion of the Virginia civil identity protection statute prohibiting the intentional communication of an individual’s social security number, as contained in § 59.1‑443.2(A)(1) of the Code of Virginia, is not preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.  Under facts identical to those presented in Fisher v. Communications Workers of America, it is likely that Virginia’s courts would reach the same  result.  In the more likely event of labor relations litigation arising on different facts, a much stronger prospect exists to successfully defeat a federal preemption claim.


The Honorable Robert B. Beasley, Jr.
Commonwealth's Attorney, County of Powhatan

The Executive Director of DGIF or his designee, once he has issued a “kill permitˮ pursuant to § 29.1-529 for the taking of a bear, may not restrict that authorization so as to prohibit the use of dogs in hunting the bear.

The Honorable Michael F. A. Morehart
State Inspector General

Fines generated from local ordinances pursuant to § 46.2-1313 do not constitute “fines collected for offenses committed against the Commonwealth” within the meaning of Article VIII, Section 8 of the Virginia Constitution; such sums constitute revenue of the locality; and the General Assembly may enact legislation to appropriate such funds to the Literary Fund as “such other sums as the General Assembly may appropriate.”  Further, fines and fees arising from violations of town ordinances should not be considered part of total revenue from fines of the county in which the town is located.