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Official Opinions


March 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 Terry H. Whittle
Clerk of Court, Winchester Circuit Court

Pursuant to the exemption provided by 12 U.S.C. § 1768, Federal Credit Unions are exempted from paying the recordation tax imposed on grantors by § 58.1-802 of the Code of Virginia.

The Honorable Robert G. Marshall
Member, House of Delegates

Although the imposition of different taxes on transactions in different localities does not violate Article X, § 1, HB 2313’s imposition of taxes in the specific localities constitutes a local law related to taxation prohibited by Article IV, § 14(5) of the Virginia Constitution. Further, because the taxes were imposed directly by the General Assembly, the taxes cannot be saved by the provisions of Article VII, § 2, even if they had obtained the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house.

The Honorable Robert G. Marshall
Member, House of Delegates

The provisions of the 2013 budget act that purport to authorize Medicaid expansion only “[i]f the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission determines that” certain conditions set by the General Assembly have been met constitutes a delegation of the General Assembly’s legislative authority.  Further, the General Assembly may not delegate final legislative authority regarding budgetary or other matters to a committee composed of a subset of the members of the General Assembly.

The Honorable Robert G. Marshall
Member, House of Delegates

The Honorable Patrick A. Hope
Member, House of Delegates

Because the Virginia Tort Claims Act does not provide relief for torts committed by agents of the Commonwealth that occurred prior to July 1, 1982, it is unlikely that a claimant could successfully bring an action against the Commonwealth for having been sterilized.

The Honorable Priscilla J. Davenport
Middlesex County Commissioner of the Revenue

Should a commissioner of the revenue make the factual determination that a parcel of land meets the criteria set forth in § 58.1-3230, but fails to meet the acreage requirements of § 58.1-3233(2), such parcel may not qualify for use taxation and assessment.

Colonel W. S. Flaherty, Superintendent
Department of State Police

Under § 46.2-100, which controls the legal classification of all vehicles, the PS50 ScootCoupe would be classified as a “motor vehicleˮ and the PS150 would be classified as a “motorcycle.ˮ


The Honorable Barry D. Knight
Member, House of Delegates

The First Amendment protection of free speech does not prohibit VDOT, when it is acting in a proprietary capacity, from negotiating commercially reasonable, profit-conscious contracts for advertising and distributing written materials at its Rest Areas.