FOIA Changes.

The Legislature made many significant changes to FOIA at the end of 2014. These changes go into effect on July 1, 2015. Under the new law, municipalities must adopt “Procedures and Guidelines” describing fees associated with FOIA requests. In fact, municipalities cannot charge fees unless they have “Procedures and Guidelines” in place. The following areas will be significiantly changed under the new law:

  • Requests
  • Responses
  • Deposits
  • Fee calculations (including detailed itemization); and
  • Avenues for challenging and appearling the public body’s denial of a request

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act entitles all persons, except those incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities, to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees. Public records include writings (which include e-mail) prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body or its divisions and employees in the performance of an official function, from the time they are created. There are certain public records that are exempt from disclosure, and these are defined in the Act.  Further, the Act requires that public bodies designate a FOIA coordinator to receive and take action on FOIA requests. If there is doubt as to whether a certain course of action might violate the FOIA, the public body’s attorney should be consulted for advice and guidance. Go To Site

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