Freedom of Information Act compliance required by July 1

Local governments must comply with amendments made to the Freedom of Information Act by July 1, 2015. There are organizations with resources that can help.

Significant changes were made to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) at the end of 2014. These changes, which take effect July 1, 2015, will require all public body’s to take action prior to July 1. A March 2015 Michigan State University Extension article highlights the changes and the actions Michigan local governments need to take by the first of July - Major amendments to the Freedom of Information Act require local government attention now.

Local governments must act soon, but that does not mean the action cannot be well thought-out, tailored to the local government administrative structure, and legally defensible. There are resources and samples available to assist Michigan communities. The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) has numerous resources on 2015 Freedom of Information Act Compliance. The resources include:

  • The Michigan Freedom of Information Act (PA 442 of 1976, as amended, being MCL 15.231 et seq.) and an annotated version of the amended FOIA
  • Sample FOIA procedures and guidelines
  • Sample public summary of local government FOIA procedures and guidelines
  • Sample FOIA detailed cost itemization form
  • Sample FOIA request forms

The sample documents are prepared in versions for townships and counties and are available in PDF and Microsoft Word documents. The samples have been prepared and vetted by attorneys for use by Michigan local governments.

Michigan State University Extension has training programs on complying with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meeting Act. These programs are a couple of many MSU Extension offerings for local government and community, economic development officials. Contact your local government and public policy Educator to sponsor such training in your county.

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