West Virginia

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West Virginia

Statutory Citation: W.Va. Code §29B-1-1 et seq.

Definition of Public Record

West Virginia law defines records as “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business, prepared, owned and retained by a public body”. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exempt: Trade secrets; information violating personal privacy; some exam data; some archaeological sites; and law enforcement records for internal use. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

5 days. 3

Information on Fees

The public body may establish fees reasonably calculated to reimburse it for its actual cost in making reproductions of records. A public body may not charge a search or retrieval fee or otherwise seek reimbursement based on a man-hour basis as part of costs associated with making reproduction of records. §29B-1-3. 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

The Supervisor of Public Records is the primary enforcer of the public records law within the state. Appeals should be sent to his office. From there, the SPR can order the custodian to comply; further refusal to do so may result in referral to the Attorney General or the appropriate district attorney. 5

Attorney Fees

Yes, you can win them. 6

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at info@goldwaterinstitute.org to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute