Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Freedom of information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231, et.seq.) functions as a counterpart to the Open Meetings Act. Instead of focusing on meetings and activities of government, FOIA focuses on documents and information. FOIA is also rooted firmly around the idea that government activities should be transparent – that in a nation where governance is “of the people, by the people and for the people,” people should have complete access to the documents and work product of government.

Michigan’s FOIA law mirrors the Federal FOIA. All materials that are “created, owned, used, possessed or retained by a public entity in the performance of an official function” (MCL 15.232(e)) must be available to the public upon request.

Under FOIA in Michigan, requests must be written, and a public entity may charge for provision of documents or copies if the public entity has an appropriate FOIA policy readily available to the public in either a written or electronic form.

Related Links:
Michigan FOIA Handbook – Handy overview by the Michigan Attorney General’s office
Guide to FOIA Statutory Exemptions - Michigan Municipal Attorney Association 
FOIA FAQS – Michigan Attorney General Office

Other Resources
Michigan Municipal League-Handbook for Municipal Officials – Appendix 4 – Overview of the Freedom of Information Act, pp118.