- Report Published -
|Recodification of Titles 2.1 and 9 of the Code of Virginia (Final report)|
|Virginia Code Commission|
|During the recodification of Titles 2.1 and 9, the Virginia Code Commission has rewritten and combined sections or parts of sections to clarify provisions and to eliminate archaic, obsolete or redundant language. Drafting notes highlighting changes or reorganizations appear throughout this report, some preceding chapters where significant revisions were made and others following key sections in the Titles 2.2 and 9.1 draft.|
The general reorganization of Title 2.1 distinguishes the organization of state government (Subtitle I--Organization of State Government) from the operation of state government (Subtitle II--Administration of State Government). In addition, the concept of a "Part" has been introduced as an organizational tool to separate functional areas within the Title. Generally, a "Part" is used to group related chapters. For example, the Governor and his cabinet secretaries have been consolidated into Part A--Office of the Governor--of Subtitle I. The Department of Law is Part B of Subtitle I. Further, state agencies related to the general operation of government have been consolidated into Part C of Subtitle I, and so on. The reorganization of Title 2.1 also includes many chapters from Title 9, Commissions, Boards and Institutions, now consolidated into Part D--State Authorities, Boards, Councils, Commissions and Other Collegial Bodies--because they were created in the executive branch of state government. Several chapters from Title 9 that were boards, councils, etc., created in the legislative branch have been moved to Title 30--General Assembly.
Title 9 has been substantially reorganized and moves executive branch commissions and boards, etc., into proposed Title 2.2. As noted above, several chapters from Title 9 that were boards, councils, etc., created in the legislative branch have been moved to Title 30-General Assembly. The effect of this substantial reorganization is the creation of proposed Title 9.1--Commonwealth's Public Safety. As its name indicates, this proposed Title contains chapters relative to the Department of Criminal Justice Services and fire and police protection generally, taken exclusively from Titles 2.1 and 9.
The challenge of the recodification of Titles 2.1 and 9 lay in limiting the reorganization to those Titles. Because Title 2.1 has been titled "Administration of State Government'' and its proposed reorganization into Title 2.2 continues that title, it would be easy to assume that all agencies of state government as well as the totality of the law governing the executive branch of state government would be located in this single title. This, however, is not and, historically, has not been the case. For example, the Department of Environmental Quality, which is an executive branch agency, is located in Title 10.1. There are numerous other examples. It is important to note that the proposed reorganization of Title 2.1 has been limited to the law currently found in Titles 2.1 and 9 exclusively, except for the inclusion of the Virginia Public Procurement Act in Subtitle II (Transaction of Public Business) of proposed Title 2.2.
The Virginia Code Commission made one substantive change in the law during the recodification of Title 2.1. That change was to existing § 2.1-639.4:1. Currently, § 2.1-639.4:1 of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act defines "state officer or employee" as [t]hose at the level immediately below those who report directly to the agency head and are at a salary grade of sixteen or higher. (emphasis added) On the recommendation of the Secretary of Transportation, "salary grade of sixteen or higher" has been replaced with "payband 6 or higher'' to comport with compensation reform initiated in 2000. Under compensation reform, salary grades no longer exist and have been replaced by paybands. Payband 6 includes former salary grades of 15, 16, and 17. As a result of the change in this section to "payband," those employees at the former salary grade of 15 will now be included under the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act. (See Subtitle I, Part E, State officers and employees generally).
Also of note, although not a substantive change, is the renaming of the Privacy Protection Act of 1976 to the "Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act." The Virginia Code Commission feels that the new chapter name is more descriptive and will clarify existing misunderstanding of what is covered by the Privacy Protection Act. The Privacy Protection Act is in fact a data collection and dissemination statute and does not protect privacy. This recommendation is supported by a 1982 Virginia Supreme Court case, Hinderliter v. Humphries, 224 Va. 438, which held that the Privacy Protection Act "[d]oes not render personal information confidential. Indeed, the act does not generally prohibit the dissemination of information. Instead, it requires certain procedural steps to be taken in the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of such data."
The Virginia Code Commission recommends that the General Assembly enact legislation at the 2001 Session to implement the revisions proposed in this report.