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2004 Official Opinions*

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.

*Section 2.2-505 of the Code of Virginia authorizes the Attorney General of Virginia to render official opinions to the Governor,  members of the General Assembly, judges, the State Corporation Commission, state agency heads, and certain local officials. The Honorable Jerry W. Kilgore was elected Attorney General by the citizens of Virginia and sworn into office on January 12, 2002 for a term of 4 years.  The Honorable Randolph A. Beales was elected Attorney General by the General Assembly on July 10, 2001, and was sworn into office on July 11, 2001, to fill the unexpired term of the Honorable Mark L. Earley upon his resignation on June 4, 2001.  The Honorable Mark L. Earley was sworn in as Attorney General at noon, January 17, 1998. The Honorable Richard Cullen served as Attorney General of Virginia from June 11, 1997, to January 17, 1998.  The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III, served as Attorney General during 1996 until his resignation on June 11, 1997.

December

Opinion # Requestor Summary
04-038 The Honorable H. Morgan Griffith
Majority Leader, House of Delegates
Telephone calls made by foundation to general public for sole purpose of requesting donations of used clothing, or other items such as household goods, for subsequent sale by foundation to public to raise funds for foundation are not ‘telephone solicitation call[s]’ as defined by Act. 
     
04-055 The Honorable Ronald S. Hallman
City Attorney for the City of Chesapeake
If landowner has recorded perpetual easement held by locality devoted to open-space use, locality has no discretion and must grant open-space tax assessment to parcel so encumbered. If landowner proffers agreement not to change use of land, locality has discretion to accept, reject, or negotiate modification of agreement with landowner. Wetlands mitigation banks not otherwise wholly exempt from local real estate taxation must be assessed in same manner as similarly situated and classified property. Local tax assessor may require owners of wetlands mitigation banks to furnish certified statements of income and expenses attributable to such property. 
     
04-078 Mr. Larry W. Davis
Attorney for Albemarle County
Lots, which are not ‘subdivision’ per ordinance, created after July 1, 1983, by recorded plat subject to ordinance may be aggregated to meet land-use taxation minimum acreage requirements. Local taxing official must assess back taxes and rollback taxes for 3 preceding tax years; may correct property valuation error subject to rollback taxes within 3 years of such assessment. 
     
04-080 Mr. Roger D. Brooks
Attorney for Town of Independence
Virginia Water and Waste Authorities Act authorizes town of Independence to create Virginia water authority in conjunction with Grayson County, Virginia, town of Sparta, North Carolina, and Alleghany County, North Carolina.