FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

Act 442 of 1976

AN ACT to provide for public access to certain public records of public bodies; to permit certain fees; to prescribe the powers and duties of certain public officers and public bodies; to provide remedies and penalties; and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan

The People of the State of Michigan enact:


15.231 Short title; public policy.

Sec. 1.

(1) This act shall be known and may be cited as the “freedom of information act”.

(2) It is the public policy of this state that all persons, except those persons incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities, are entitled 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, consistent with this act. The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1994, Act 131, Imd. Eff. May 19, 1994 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997 ;-- Am. 1997, Act 6, Imd. Eff. May 16, 1997
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.232 Definitions.

Sec. 2.

As used in this act:

(a) “Field name” means the label or identification of an element of a computer data base that contains a specific item of information, and includes but is not limited to a subject heading such as a column header, data dictionary, or record layout.

(b) “FOIA coordinator” means either of the following:

(i) An individual who is a public body.

(ii) An individual designated by a public body in accordance with section 6 to accept and process requests for public records under this act.

(c) “Person” means an individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, firm, organization, association, governmental entity, or other legal entity. Person does not include an individual serving a sentence of imprisonment in a state or county correctional facility in this state or any other state, or in a federal correctional facility.

(d) “Public body” means any of the following:

(i) A state officer, employee, agency, department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority, or other body in the executive branch of the state government, but does not include the governor or lieutenant governor, the executive office of the governor or lieutenant governor, or employees thereof.

(ii) An agency, board, commission, or council in the legislative branch of the state government.

(iii) A county, city, township, village, intercounty, intercity, or regional governing body, council, school district, special district, or municipal corporation, or a board, department, commission, council, or agency thereof.

(iv) Any other body which is created by state or local authority or which is primarily funded by or through state or local authority.

(v) The judiciary, including the office of the county clerk and employees thereof when acting in the capacity of clerk to the circuit court, is not included in the definition of public body.

(e) “Public record” means a writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body in the performance of an official function, from the time it is created. Public record does not include computer software. This act separates public records into the following 2 classes:

(i) Those that are exempt from disclosure under section 13.

(ii) All public records that are not exempt from disclosure under section 13 and which are subject to disclosure under this act.

(f) “Software” means a set of statements or instructions that when incorporated in a machine usable medium is capable of causing a machine or device having information processing capabilities to indicate, perform, or achieve a particular function, task, or result. Software does not include computer-stored information or data, or a field name if disclosure of that field name does not violate a software license.

(g) “Unusual circumstances” means any 1 or a combination of the following, but only to the extent necessary for the proper processing of a request:

(i) The need to search for, collect, or appropriately examine or review a voluminous amount of separate and distinct public records pursuant to a single request.

(ii) The need to collect the requested public records from numerous field offices, facilities, or other establishments which are located apart from the particular office receiving or processing the request.

(h) “Writing” means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, and every other means of recording, and includes letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films or prints, microfilm, microfiche, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, or other means of recording or retaining meaningful content.

(i) “Written request” means a writing that asks for information, and includes a writing transmitted by facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic means.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1994, Act 131, Imd. Eff. May 19, 1994 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.233 Public records; right to inspect, copy, or receive; subscriptions; forwarding requests; file; inspection and examination; memoranda or abstracts; rules; compilation, summary, or report of information; creation of new public record; certified copies.

Sec. 3.

(1) Except as expressly provided in section 13, upon providing a public body's FOIA coordinator with a written request that describes a public record sufficiently to enable the public body to find the public record, a person has a right to inspect, copy, or receive copies of the requested public record of the public body. A person has a right to subscribe to future issuances of public records that are created, issued, or disseminated on a regular basis. A subscription shall be valid for up to 6 months, at the request of the subscriber, and shall be renewable. An employee of a public body who receives a request for a public record shall promptly forward that request to the freedom of information act coordinator.

(2) A freedom of information act coordinator shall keep a copy of all written requests for public records on file for no less than 1 year.

(3) A public body shall furnish a requesting person a reasonable opportunity for inspection and examination of its public records, and shall furnish reasonable facilities for making memoranda or abstracts from its public records during the usual business hours. A public body may make reasonable rules necessary to protect its public records and to prevent excessive and unreasonable interference with the discharge of its functions. A public body shall protect public records from loss, unauthorized alteration, mutilation, or destruction.

(4) This act does not require a public body to make a compilation, summary, or report of information, except as required in section 11.

(5) This act does not require a public body to create a new public record, except as required in section 11, and to the extent required by this act for the furnishing of copies, or edited copies pursuant to section 14(1), of an already existing public record.

(6) The custodian of a public record shall, upon written request, furnish a requesting person a certified copy of a public record.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.234 Fee; limitation on total fee; labor costs; establishment of procedures and guidelines; creation of written public summary; detailed itemization; availability of information on website; notification to requester; deposit; failure to respond in timely manner; increased estimated fee deposit; deposit as fee.

Sec. 4.

(1) A public body may charge a fee for a public record search, for the necessary copying of a public record for inspection, or for providing a copy of a public record if it has established, makes publicly available, and follows procedures and guidelines to implement this section as described in subsection (4). Subject to subsections (2), (3), (4), (5), and (9), the fee shall be limited to actual mailing costs, and to the actual incremental cost of duplication or publication including labor, the cost of search, examination, review, and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information as provided in section 14. Except as otherwise provided in this act, if the public body estimates or charges a fee in accordance with this act, the total fee shall not exceed the sum of the following components:

(a) That portion of labor costs directly associated with the necessary searching for, locating, and examining of public records in conjunction with receiving and fulfilling a granted written request. The public body shall not charge more than the hourly wage of its lowest-paid employee capable of searching for, locating, and examining the public records in the particular instance regardless of whether that person is available or who actually performs the labor. Labor costs under this subdivision shall be estimated and charged in increments of 15 minutes or more, with all partial time increments rounded down.

(b) That portion of labor costs, including necessary review, if any, directly associated with the separating and deleting of exempt information from nonexempt information as provided in section 14. For services performed by an employee of the public body, the public body shall not charge more than the hourly wage of its lowest-paid employee capable of separating and deleting exempt information from nonexempt information in the particular instance as provided in section 14, regardless of whether that person is available or who actually performs the labor. If a public body does not employ a person capable of separating and deleting exempt information from nonexempt information in the particular instance as provided in section 14 as determined by the public body's FOIA coordinator on a case-by-case basis, it may treat necessary contracted labor costs used for the separating and deleting of exempt information from nonexempt information in the same manner as employee labor costs when calculating charges under this subdivision if it clearly notes the name of the contracted person or firm on the detailed itemization described under subsection (4). Total labor costs calculated under this subdivision for contracted labor costs shall not exceed an amount equal to 6 times the state minimum hourly wage rate determined under section 4 of the workforce opportunity wage act, 2014 PA 138, MCL 408.411 to 408.424. Labor costs under this subdivision shall be estimated and charged in increments of 15 minutes or more, with all partial time increments rounded down. A public body shall not charge for labor directly associated with redaction under section 14 if it knows or has reason to know that it previously redacted the public record in question and the redacted version is still in the public body's possession.

(c) For public records provided to the requestor on nonpaper physical media, the actual and most reasonably economical cost of the computer discs, computer tapes, or other digital or similar media. The requestor may stipulate that the public records be provided on nonpaper physical media, electronically mailed, or otherwise electronically provided to him or her in lieu of paper copies. This subdivision does not apply if a public body lacks the technological capability necessary to provide records on the particular nonpaper physical media stipulated in the particular instance.

(d) For paper copies of public records provided to the requestor, the actual total incremental cost of necessary duplication or publication, not including labor. The cost of paper copies shall be calculated as a total cost per sheet of paper and shall be itemized and noted in a manner that expresses both the cost per sheet and the number of sheets provided. The fee shall not exceed 10 cents per sheet of paper for copies of public records made on 8-1/2- by 11-inch paper or 8-1/2- by 14-inch paper. A public body shall utilize the most economical means available for making copies of public records, including using double-sided printing, if cost saving and available.

(e) The cost of labor directly associated with duplication or publication, including making paper copies, making digital copies, or transferring digital public records to be given to the requestor on nonpaper physical media or through the internet or other electronic means as stipulated by the requestor. The public body shall not charge more than the hourly wage of its lowest-paid employee capable of necessary duplication or publication in the particular instance, regardless of whether that person is available or who actually performs the labor. Labor costs under this subdivision may be estimated and charged in time increments of the public body's choosing; however, all partial time increments shall be rounded down.

(f) The actual cost of mailing, if any, for sending the public records in a reasonably economical and justifiable manner. The public body shall not charge more for expedited shipping or insurance unless specifically stipulated by the requestor, but may otherwise charge for the least expensive form of postal delivery confirmation when mailing public records.

(2) When calculating labor costs under subsection (1)(a), (b), or (e), fee components shall be itemized in a manner that expresses both the hourly wage and the number of hours charged. The public body may also add up to 50% to the applicable labor charge amount to cover or partially cover the cost of fringe benefits if it clearly notes the percentage multiplier used to account for benefits in the detailed itemization described in subsection (4). Subject to the 50% limitation, the public body shall not charge more than the actual cost of fringe benefits, and overtime wages shall not be used in calculating the cost of fringe benefits. Overtime wages shall not be included in the calculation of labor costs unless overtime is specifically stipulated by the requestor and clearly noted on the detailed itemization described in subsection (4). A search for a public record may be conducted or copies of public records may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the public body determines that a waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because searching for or furnishing copies of the public record can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public. A public record search shall be made and a copy of a public record shall be furnished without charge for the first $20.00 of the fee for each request by either of the following:

(a) An individual who is entitled to information under this act and who submits an affidavit stating that the individual is indigent and receiving specific public assistance or, if not receiving public assistance, stating facts showing inability to pay the cost because of indigency. If the requestor is eligible for a requested discount, the public body shall fully note the discount on the detailed itemization described under subsection (4). If a requestor is ineligible for the discount, the public body shall inform the requestor specifically of the reason for ineligibility in the public body's written response. An individual is ineligible for this fee reduction if any of the following apply:

(i) The individual has previously received discounted copies of public records under this subsection from the same public body twice during that calendar year.

(ii) The individual requests the information in conjunction with outside parties who are offering or providing payment or other remuneration to the individual to make the request. A public body may require a statement by the requestor in the affidavit that the request is not being made in conjunction with outside parties in exchange for payment or other remuneration.

(b) A nonprofit organization formally designated by the state to carry out activities under subtitle C of the developmental disabilities assistance and bill of rights act of 2000, Public Law 106-402, and the protection and advocacy for individuals with mental illness act, Public Law 99-319, or their successors, if the request meets all of the following requirements:

(i) Is made directly on behalf of the organization or its clients.

(ii) Is made for a reason wholly consistent with the mission and provisions of those laws under section 931 of the mental health code, 1974 PA 258, MCL 330.1931.

(iii) Is accompanied by documentation of its designation by the state, if requested by the public body.

(3) A fee as described in subsection (1) shall not be charged for the cost of search, examination, review, and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information as provided in section 14 unless failure to charge a fee would result in unreasonably high costs to the public body because of the nature of the request in the particular instance, and the public body specifically identifies the nature of these unreasonably high costs.

(4) A public body shall establish procedures and guidelines to implement this act and shall create a written public summary of the specific procedures and guidelines relevant to the general public regarding how to submit written requests to the public body and explaining how to understand a public body's written responses, deposit requirements, fee calculations, and avenues for challenge and appeal. The written public summary shall be written in a manner so as to be easily understood by the general public. If the public body directly or indirectly administers or maintains an official internet presence, it shall post and maintain the procedures and guidelines and its written public summary on its website. A public body shall make the procedures and guidelines publicly available by providing free copies of the procedures and guidelines and its written public summary both in the public body's response to a written request and upon request by visitors at the public body's office. A public body that posts and maintains procedures and guidelines and its written public summary on its website may include the website link to the documents in lieu of providing paper copies in its response to a written request. A public body's procedures and guidelines shall include the use of a standard form for detailed itemization of any fee amount in its responses to written requests under this act. The detailed itemization shall clearly list and explain the allowable charges for each of the 6 fee components listed under subsection (1) that compose the total fee used for estimating or charging purposes. Other public bodies may use a form created by the department of technology, management, and budget or create a form of their own that complies with this subsection. A public body that has not established procedures and guidelines, has not created a written public summary, or has not made those items publicly available without charge as required in this subsection is not relieved of its duty to comply with any requirement of this act and shall not require deposits or charge fees otherwise permitted under this act until it is in compliance with this subsection. Notwithstanding this subsection and despite any law to the contrary, a public body's procedures and guidelines under this act are not exempt public records under section 13.

(5) If the public body directly or indirectly administers or maintains an official internet presence, any public records available to the general public on that internet site at the time the request is made are exempt from any charges under subsection (1)(b). If the FOIA coordinator knows or has reason to know that all or a portion of the requested information is available on its website, the public body shall notify the requestor in its written response that all or a portion of the requested information is available on its website. The written response, to the degree practicable in the specific instance, shall include a specific webpage address where the requested information is available. On the detailed itemization described in subsection (4), the public body shall separate the requested public records that are available on its website from those that are not available on the website and shall inform the requestor of the additional charge to receive copies of the public records that are available on its website. If the public body has included the website address for a record in its written response to the requestor and the requestor thereafter stipulates that the public record be provided to him or her in a paper format or other form as described under subsection (1)(c), the public body shall provide the public records in the specified format but may use a fringe benefit multiplier greater than the 50% limitation in subsection (2), not to exceed the actual costs of providing the information in the specified format.

(6) A public body may provide requested information available in public records without receipt of a written request.

(7) If a verbal request for information is for information that a public body believes is available on the public body's website, the public employee shall, where practicable and to the best of the public employee's knowledge, inform the requestor about the public body's pertinent website address.

(8) In either the public body's initial response or subsequent response as described under section 5(2)(d), the public body may require a good-faith deposit from the person requesting information before providing the public records to the requestor if the entire fee estimate or charge authorized under this section exceeds $50.00, based on a good-faith calculation of the total fee described in subsection (4). Subject to subsection (10), the deposit shall not exceed 1/2 of the total estimated fee, and a public body's request for a deposit shall include a detailed itemization as required under subsection (4). The response shall also contain a best efforts estimate by the public body regarding the time frame it will take the public body to comply with the law in providing the public records to the requestor. The time frame estimate is nonbinding upon the public body, but the public body shall provide the estimate in good faith and strive to be reasonably accurate and to provide the public records in a manner based on this state's public policy under section 1 and the nature of the request in the particular instance. If a public body does not respond in a timely manner as described under section 5(2), it is not relieved from its requirements to provide proper fee calculations and time frame estimates in any tardy responses. Providing an estimated time frame does not relieve a public body from any of the other requirements of this act.

(9) If a public body does not respond to a written request in a timely manner as required under section 5(2), the public body shall do the following:

(a) Reduce the charges for labor costs otherwise permitted under this section by 5% for each day the public body exceeds the time permitted under section 5(2) for a response to the request, with a maximum 50% reduction, if either of the following applies:

(i) The late response was willful and intentional.

(ii) The written request included language that conveyed a request for information within the first 250 words of the body of a letter, facsimile, electronic mail, or electronic mail attachment, or specifically included the words, characters, or abbreviations for "freedom of information", "information", "FOIA", "copy", or a recognizable misspelling of such, or appropriate legal code reference for this act, on the front of an envelope, or in the subject line of an electronic mail, letter, or facsimile cover page.

(b) If a charge reduction is required under subdivision (a), fully note the charge reduction on the detailed itemization described under subsection (4).

(10) This section does not apply to public records prepared under an act or statute specifically authorizing the sale of those public records to the public, or if the amount of the fee for providing a copy of the public record is otherwise specifically provided by an act or statute.

(11) Subject to subsection (12), after a public body has granted and fulfilled a written request from an individual under this act, if the public body has not been paid in full the total amount under subsection (1) for the copies of public records that the public body made available to the individual as a result of that written request, the public body may require a deposit of up to 100% of the estimated fee before it begins a full public record search for any subsequent written request from that individual if all of the following apply:

(a) The final fee for the prior written request was not more than 105% of the estimated fee.

(b) The public records made available contained the information being sought in the prior written request and are still in the public body's possession.

(c) The public records were made available to the individual, subject to payment, within the time frame estimate described under subsection (7).

(d) Ninety days have passed since the public body notified the individual in writing that the public records were available for pickup or mailing.

(e) The individual is unable to show proof of prior payment to the public body.

(f) The public body calculates a detailed itemization, as required under subsection (4), that is the basis for the current written request's increased estimated fee deposit.

(12) A public body shall no longer require an increased estimated fee deposit from an individual as described under subsection (11) if any of the following apply:

(a) The individual is able to show proof of prior payment in full to the public body.

(b) The public body is subsequently paid in full for the applicable prior written request.

(c) Three hundred sixty-five days have passed since the individual made the written request for which full payment was not remitted to the public body.

(13) A deposit required by a public body under this act is a fee.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1988, Act 99, Imd. Eff. Apr. 11, 1988 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997 ;-- Am. 2014, Act 563, Eff. July 1, 2015
Constitutionality: The disclosure of public records under the freedom of information act impartially to the general public for the incremental cost of creating the record is not a granting of credit by the state in aid of private persons and does not justify nondisclosure on the theory that the information is proprietary information belonging to a public body. Kestenbaum v Michigan State University, 414 Mich 510; 417 NW2d 1102 (1982).
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.235 Request to inspect or receive copy of public record; response to request; failure to respond; damages; contents of notice denying request; signing notice of denial; notice extending period of response; action by requesting person.

Sec. 5.

(1) Except as provided in section 3, a person desiring to inspect or receive a copy of a public record shall make a written request for the public record to the FOIA coordinator of a public body. A written request made by facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic transmission is not received by a public body's FOIA coordinator until 1 business day after the electronic transmission is made. However, if a written request is sent by electronic mail and delivered to the public body's spam or junk-mail folder, the request is not received until 1 day after the public body first becomes aware of the written request. The public body shall note in its records both the time a written request is delivered to its spam or junk-mail folder and the time the public body first becomes aware of that request.

(2) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the person making the request, a public body shall respond to a request for a public record within 5 business days after the public body receives the request by doing 1 of the following:

(a) Granting the request.

(b) Issuing a written notice to the requesting person denying the request.

(c) Granting the request in part and issuing a written notice to the requesting person denying the request in part.

(d) Issuing a notice extending for not more than 10 business days the period during which the public body shall respond to the request. A public body shall not issue more than 1 notice of extension for a particular request.

(3) Failure to respond to a request pursuant to subsection (2) constitutes a public body's final determination to deny the request if either of the following applies:

(a) The failure was willful and intentional.

(b) The written request included language that conveyed a request for information within the first 250 words of the body of a letter, facsimile, electronic mail, or electronic mail attachment, or specifically included the words, characters, or abbreviations for "freedom of information", "information", "FOIA", "copy", or a recognizable misspelling of such, or appropriate legal code reference to this act, on the front of an envelope or in the subject line of an electronic mail, letter, or facsimile cover page.

(4) In a civil action to compel a public body's disclosure of a public record under section 10, the court shall assess damages against the public body pursuant to section 10(7) if the court has done both of the following:

(a) Determined that the public body has not complied with subsection (2).

(b) Ordered the public body to disclose or provide copies of all or a portion of the public record.

(5) A written notice denying a request for a public record in whole or in part is a public body's final determination to deny the request or portion of that request. The written notice shall contain:

(a) An explanation of the basis under this act or other statute for the determination that the public record, or portion of that public record, is exempt from disclosure, if that is the reason for denying all or a portion of the request.

(b) A certificate that the public record does not exist under the name given by the requester or by another name reasonably known to the public body, if that is the reason for denying the request or a portion of the request.

(c) A description of a public record or information on a public record that is separated or deleted pursuant to section 14, if a separation or deletion is made.

(d) A full explanation of the requesting person's right to do either of the following:

(i) Submit to the head of the public body a written appeal that specifically states the word "appeal" and identifies the reason or reasons for reversal of the disclosure denial.

(ii) Seek judicial review of the denial under section 10.

(e) Notice of the right to receive attorneys' fees and damages as provided in section 10 if, after judicial review, the court determines that the public body has not complied with this section and orders disclosure of all or a portion of a public record.

(6) The individual designated in section 6 as responsible for the denial of the request shall sign the written notice of denial.

(7) If a public body issues a notice extending the period for a response to the request, the notice shall specify the reasons for the extension and the date by which the public body will do 1 of the following:

(a) Grant the request.

(b) Issue a written notice to the requesting person denying the request.

(c) Grant the request in part and issue a written notice to the requesting person denying the request in part.

(8) If a public body makes a final determination to deny in whole or in part a request to inspect or receive a copy of a public record or portion of that public record, the requesting person may do either of the following:

(a) Appeal the denial to the head of the public body pursuant to section 10.

(b) Commence a civil action, pursuant to section 10.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1978, Act 329, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1978 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997 ;-- Am. 2014, Act 563, Eff. July 1, 2015
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.236 FOIA coordinator.

Sec. 6.

(1) A public body that is a city, village, township, county, or state department, or under the control of a city, village, township, county, or state department, shall designate an individual as the public body's FOIA coordinator. The FOIA coordinator shall be responsible for accepting and processing requests for the public body's public records under this act and shall be responsible for approving a denial under section 5(4) and (5). In a county not having an executive form of government, the chairperson of the county board of commissioners is designated the FOIA coordinator for that county.

(2) For all other public bodies, the chief administrative officer of the respective public body is designated the public body's FOIA coordinator.

(3) An FOIA coordinator may designate another individual to act on his or her behalf in accepting and processing requests for the public body's public records, and in approving a denial under section 5(4) and (5).


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.240 Options by requesting person; appeal; actions by public body; receipt of written appeal; judicial review; civil action; venue; de novo proceeding; burden of proof; private view of public record; contempt; assignment of action or appeal for hearing, trial, or argument; attorneys' fees, costs, and disbursements; assessment of award; damages.

Sec. 10.

(1) If a public body makes a final determination to deny all or a portion of a request, the requesting person may do 1 of the following at his or her option:

(a) Submit to the head of the public body a written appeal that specifically states the word "appeal" and identifies the reason or reasons for reversal of the denial.

(b) Commence a civil action in the circuit court, or if the decision of a state public body is at issue, the court of claims, to compel the public body's disclosure of the public records within 180 days after a public body's final determination to deny a request.

(2) Within 10 business days after receiving a written appeal pursuant to subsection (1)(a), the head of a public body shall do 1 of the following:

(a) Reverse the disclosure denial.

(b) Issue a written notice to the requesting person upholding the disclosure denial.

(c) Reverse the disclosure denial in part and issue a written notice to the requesting person upholding the disclosure denial in part.

(d) Under unusual circumstances, issue a notice extending for not more than 10 business days the period during which the head of the public body shall respond to the written appeal. The head of a public body shall not issue more than 1 notice of extension for a particular written appeal.

(3) A board or commission that is the head of a public body is not considered to have received a written appeal under subsection (2) until the first regularly scheduled meeting of that board or commission following submission of the written appeal under subsection (1)(a). If the head of the public body fails to respond to a written appeal pursuant to subsection (2), or if the head of the public body upholds all or a portion of the disclosure denial that is the subject of the written appeal, the requesting person may seek judicial review of the nondisclosure by commencing a civil action under subsection (1)(b).

(4) In an action commenced under subsection (1)(b), a court that determines a public record is not exempt from disclosure shall order the public body to cease withholding or to produce all or a portion of a public record wrongfully withheld, regardless of the location of the public record. Venue for an action against a local public body is proper in the circuit court for the county in which the public record or an office of the public body is located has venue over the action. The court shall determine the matter de novo and the burden is on the public body to sustain its denial. The court, on its own motion, may view the public record in controversy in private before reaching a decision. Failure to comply with an order of the court may be punished as contempt of court.

(5) An action commenced under this section and an appeal from an action commenced under this section shall be assigned for hearing and trial or for argument at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way.

(6) If a person asserting the right to inspect, copy, or receive a copy of all or a portion of a public record prevails in an action commenced under this section, the court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and disbursements. If the person or public body prevails in part, the court may, in its discretion, award all or an appropriate portion of reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and disbursements. The award shall be assessed against the public body liable for damages under subsection (7).

(7) If the court determines in an action commenced under this section that the public body has arbitrarily and capriciously violated this act by refusal or delay in disclosing or providing copies of a public record, the court shall order the public body to pay a civil fine of $1,000.00, which shall be deposited into the general fund of the state treasury. The court shall award, in addition to any actual or compensatory damages, punitive damages in the amount of $1,000.00 to the person seeking the right to inspect or receive a copy of a public record. The damages shall not be assessed against an individual, but shall be assessed against the next succeeding public body that is not an individual and that kept or maintained the public record as part of its public function.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1978, Act 329, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1978 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997 ;-- Am. 2014, Act 563, Eff. July 1, 2015
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.240a Fee in excess of amount permitted under procedures and guidelines or MCL 15.234.

Sec. 10a.

(1) If a public body requires a fee that exceeds the amount permitted under its publicly available procedures and guidelines or section 4, the requesting person may do any of the following:

(a) If the public body provides for fee appeals to the head of the public body in its publicly available procedures and guidelines, submit to the head of the public body a written appeal for a fee reduction that specifically states the word "appeal" and identifies how the required fee exceeds the amount permitted under the public body's available procedures and guidelines or section 4.

(b) Commence a civil action in the circuit court, or if the decision of a state public body is at issue, in the court of claims, for a fee reduction. The action must be filed within 45 days after receiving the notice of the required fee or a determination of an appeal to the head of a public body. If a civil action is commenced against the public body under this subdivision, the public body is not obligated to complete the processing of the written request for the public record at issue until the court resolves the fee dispute. An action shall not be filed under this subdivision unless 1 of the following applies:

(i) The public body does not provide for appeals under subdivision (a).

(ii) The head of the public body failed to respond to a written appeal as required under subsection (2).

(iii) The head of the public body issued a determination to a written appeal as required under subsection (2).

(2) Within 10 business days after receiving a written appeal under subsection (1)(a), the head of a public body shall do 1 of the following:

(a) Waive the fee.

(b) Reduce the fee and issue a written determination to the requesting person indicating the specific basis under section 4 that supports the remaining fee. The determination shall include a certification from the head of the public body that the statements in the determination are accurate and that the reduced fee amount complies with its publicly available procedures and guidelines and section 4.

(c) Uphold the fee and issue a written determination to the requesting person indicating the specific basis under section 4 that supports the required fee. The determination shall include a certification from the head of the public body that the statements in the determination are accurate and that the fee amount complies with the public body's publicly available procedures and guidelines and section 4.

(d) Issue a notice extending for not more than 10 business days the period during which the head of the public body must respond to the written appeal. The notice of extension shall include a detailed reason or reasons why the extension is necessary. The head of a public body shall not issue more than 1 notice of extension for a particular written appeal.

(3) A board or commission that is the head of a public body is not considered to have received a written appeal under subsection (2) until the first regularly scheduled meeting of that board or commission following submission of the written appeal under subsection (1)(a).

(4) In an action commenced under subsection (1)(b), a court that determines the public body required a fee that exceeds the amount permitted under its publicly available procedures and guidelines or section 4 shall reduce the fee to a permissible amount. Venue for an action against a local public body is proper in the circuit court for the county in which the public record or an office of the public body is located. The court shall determine the matter de novo, and the burden is on the public body to establish that the required fee complies with its publicly available procedures and guidelines and section 4. Failure to comply with an order of the court may be punished as contempt of court.

(5) An action commenced under this section and an appeal from an action commenced under this section shall be assigned for hearing and trial or for argument at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way.

(6) If the requesting person prevails in an action commenced under this section by receiving a reduction of 50% or more of the total fee, the court may, in its discretion, award all or an appropriate portion of reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and disbursements. The award shall be assessed against the public body liable for damages under subsection (7).

(7) If the court determines in an action commenced under this section that the public body has arbitrarily and capriciously violated this act by charging an excessive fee, the court shall order the public body to pay a civil fine of $500.00, which shall be deposited in the general fund of the state treasury. The court may also award, in addition to any actual or compensatory damages, punitive damages in the amount of $500.00 to the person seeking the fee reduction. The fine and any damages shall not be assessed against an individual, but shall be assessed against the next succeeding public body that is not an individual and that kept or maintained the public record as part of its public function.

(8) As used in this section, "fee" means the total fee or any component of the total fee calculated under section 4, including any deposit.


History: Add. 2014, Act 563, Eff. July 1, 2015
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.240b Failure to comply with act; civil fine.

Sec. 10b.

If the court determines, in an action commenced under this act, that a public body willfully and intentionally failed to comply with this act or otherwise acted in bad faith, the court shall order the public body to pay, in addition to any other award or sanction, a civil fine of not less than $2,500.00 or more than $7,500.00 for each occurrence. In determining the amount of the civil fine, the court shall consider the budget of the public body and whether the public body has previously been assessed penalties for violations of this act. The civil fine shall be deposited in the general fund of the state treasury.


History: Add. 2014, Act 563, Eff. July 1, 2015
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.241 Matters required to be published and made available by state agency; form of publications; effect of matter not published and made available; exception; action to compel compliance by state agency; order; attorneys' fees, costs, and disbursements; jurisdiction; definitions.

Sec. 11.

(1) A state agency shall publish and make available to the public all of the following:

(a) Final orders or decisions in contested cases and the records on which they were made.

(b) Promulgated rules.

(c) Other written statements that implement or interpret laws, rules, or policy, including but not limited to guidelines, manuals, and forms with instructions, adopted or used by the agency in the discharge of its functions.

(2) Publications may be in pamphlet, loose-leaf, or other appropriate form in printed, mimeographed, or other written matter.

(3) Except to the extent that a person has actual and timely notice of the terms thereof, a person is not required to resort to, and shall not be adversely affected by, a matter required to be published and made available, if the matter is not so published and made available.

(4) This section does not apply to public records that are exempt from disclosure under section 13.

(5) A person may commence an action in the court of claims to compel a state agency to comply with this section. If the court determines that the state agency has failed to comply, the court shall order the state agency to comply and shall award reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and disbursements to the person commencing the action. The court of claims has exclusive jurisdiction to issue the order.

(6) As used in this section, "state agency", "contested case", and "rule" mean "agency", "contested case", and "rule" as those terms are defined in the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 2014, Act 563, Eff. July 1, 2015
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


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15.243 Exemptions from disclosure; public body as school district or public school academy; withholding of information required by law or in possession of executive office.

Sec. 13.

(1) A public body may exempt from disclosure as a public record under this act any of the following:

(a) Information of a personal nature if public disclosure of the information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy.

(b) Investigating records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that disclosure as a public record would do any of the following:

(i) Interfere with law enforcement proceedings.

(ii) Deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or impartial administrative adjudication.

(iii) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

(iv) Disclose the identity of a confidential source, or if the record is compiled by a law enforcement agency in the course of a criminal investigation, disclose confidential information furnished only by a confidential source.

(v) Disclose law enforcement investigative techniques or procedures.

(vi) Endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel.

(c) A public record that if disclosed would prejudice a public body's ability to maintain the physical security of custodial or penal institutions occupied by persons arrested or convicted of a crime or admitted because of a mental disability, unless the public interest in disclosure under this act outweighs the public interest in nondisclosure.

(d) Records or information specifically described and exempted from disclosure by statute.

(e) A public record or information described in this section that is furnished by the public body originally compiling, preparing, or receiving the record or information to a public officer or public body in connection with the performance of the duties of that public officer or public body, if the considerations originally giving rise to the exempt nature of the public record remain applicable.

(f) Trade secrets or commercial or financial information voluntarily provided to an agency for use in developing governmental policy if:

(i) The information is submitted upon a promise of confidentiality by the public body.

(ii) The promise of confidentiality is authorized by the chief administrative officer of the public body or by an elected official at the time the promise is made.

(iii) A description of the information is recorded by the public body within a reasonable time after it has been submitted, maintained in a central place within the public body, and made available to a person upon request. This subdivision does not apply to information submitted as required by law or as a condition of receiving a governmental contract, license, or other benefit.

(g) Information or records subject to the attorney-client privilege.

(h) Information or records subject to the physician-patient privilege, the psychologist-patient privilege, the minister, priest, or Christian Science practitioner privilege, or other privilege recognized by statute or court rule.

(i) A bid or proposal by a person to enter into a contract or agreement, until the time for the public opening of bids or proposals, or if a public opening is not to be conducted, until the deadline for submission of bids or proposals has expired.

(j) Appraisals of real property to be acquired by the public body until either of the following occurs:

(i) An agreement is entered into.

(ii) Three years have elapsed since the making of the appraisal, unless litigation relative to the acquisition has not yet terminated.

(k) Test questions and answers, scoring keys, and other examination instruments or data used to administer a license, public employment, or academic examination, unless the public interest in disclosure under this act outweighs the public interest in nondisclosure.

(l) Medical, counseling, or psychological facts or evaluations concerning an individual if the individual's identity would be revealed by a disclosure of those facts or evaluation, including protected health information, as defined in 45 CFR 160.103.

(m) Communications and notes within a public body or between public bodies of an advisory nature to the extent that they cover other than purely factual materials and are preliminary to a final agency determination of policy or action. This exemption does not apply unless the public body shows that in the particular instance the public interest in encouraging frank communication between officials and employees of public bodies clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure. This exemption does not constitute an exemption under state law for purposes of section 8(h) of the open meetings act, 1976 PA 267, MCL 15.268. As used in this subdivision, "determination of policy or action" includes a determination relating to collective bargaining, unless the public record is otherwise required to be made available under 1947 PA 336, MCL 423.201 to 423.217.

(n) Records of law enforcement communication codes, or plans for deployment of law enforcement personnel, that if disclosed would prejudice a public body's ability to protect the public safety unless the public interest in disclosure under this act outweighs the public interest in nondisclosure in the particular instance.

(o) Information that would reveal the exact location of archaeological sites. The department of history, arts, and libraries may promulgate rules in accordance with the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, to provide for the disclosure of the location of archaeological sites for purposes relating to the preservation or scientific examination of sites.

(p) Testing data developed by a public body in determining whether bidders' products meet the specifications for purchase of those products by the public body, if disclosure of the data would reveal that only 1 bidder has met the specifications. This subdivision does not apply after 1 year has elapsed from the time the public body completes the testing.

(q) Academic transcripts of an institution of higher education established under section 5, 6, or 7 of article VIII of the state constitution of 1963, if the transcript pertains to a student who is delinquent in the payment of financial obligations to the institution.

(r) Records of a campaign committee including a committee that receives money from a state campaign fund.

(s) Unless the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in nondisclosure in the particular instance, public records of a law enforcement agency, the release of which would do any of the following:

(i) Identify or provide a means of identifying an informant.

(ii) Identify or provide a means of identifying a law enforcement undercover officer or agent or a plain clothes officer as a law enforcement officer or agent.

(iii) Disclose the personal address or telephone number of active or retired law enforcement officers or agents or a special skill that they may have.

(iv) Disclose the name, address, or telephone numbers of family members, relatives, children, or parents of active or retired law enforcement officers or agents.

(v) Disclose operational instructions for law enforcement officers or agents.

(vi) Reveal the contents of staff manuals provided for law enforcement officers or agents.

(vii) Endanger the life or safety of law enforcement officers or agents or their families, relatives, children, parents, or those who furnish information to law enforcement departments or agencies.

(viii) Identify or provide a means of identifying a person as a law enforcement officer, agent, or informant.

(ix) Disclose personnel records of law enforcement agencies.

(x) Identify or provide a means of identifying residences that law enforcement agencies are requested to check in the absence of their owners or tenants.

(t) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, records and information pertaining to an investigation or a compliance conference conducted by the department under article 15 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.16101 to 333.18838, before a complaint is issued. This subdivision does not apply to records or information pertaining to 1 or more of the following:

(i) The fact that an allegation has been received and an investigation is being conducted, and the date the allegation was received.

(ii) The fact that an allegation was received by the department; the fact that the department did not issue a complaint for the allegation; and the fact that the allegation was dismissed.

(u) Records of a public body's security measures, including security plans, security codes and combinations, passwords, passes, keys, and security procedures, to the extent that the records relate to the ongoing security of the public body.

(v) Records or information relating to a civil action in which the requesting party and the public body are parties.

(w) Information or records that would disclose the social security number of an individual.

(x) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, an application for the position of president of an institution of higher education established under section 4, 5, or 6 of article VIII of the state constitution of 1963, materials submitted with such an application, letters of recommendation or references concerning an applicant, and records or information relating to the process of searching for and selecting an individual for a position described in this subdivision, if the records or information could be used to identify a candidate for the position. However, after 1 or more individuals have been identified as finalists for a position described in this subdivision, this subdivision does not apply to a public record described in this subdivision, except a letter of recommendation or reference, to the extent that the public record relates to an individual identified as a finalist for the position.

(y) Records or information of measures designed to protect the security or safety of persons or property, whether public or private, including, but not limited to, building, public works, and public water supply designs to the extent that those designs relate to the ongoing security measures of a public body, capabilities and plans for responding to a violation of the Michigan anti-terrorism act, chapter LXXXIII-A of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.543a to 750.543z, emergency response plans, risk planning documents, threat assessments, and domestic preparedness strategies, unless disclosure would not impair a public body's ability to protect the security or safety of persons or property or unless the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in nondisclosure in the particular instance.

(2) A public body shall exempt from disclosure information that, if released, would prevent the public body from complying with 20 USC 1232g, commonly referred to as the family educational rights and privacy act of 1974. A public body that is a local or intermediate school district or a public school academy shall exempt from disclosure directory information, as defined by 20 USC 1232g, commonly referred to as the family educational rights and privacy act of 1974, requested for the purpose of surveys, marketing, or solicitation, unless that public body determines that the use is consistent with the educational mission of the public body and beneficial to the affected students. A public body that is a local or intermediate school district or a public school academy may take steps to ensure that directory information disclosed under this subsection shall not be used, rented, or sold for the purpose of surveys, marketing, or solicitation. Before disclosing the directory information, a public body that is a local or intermediate school district or a public school academy may require the requester to execute an affidavit stating that directory information provided under this subsection shall not be used, rented, or sold for the purpose of surveys, marketing, or solicitation.

(3) This act does not authorize the withholding of information otherwise required by law to be made available to the public or to a party in a contested case under the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328.

(4) Except as otherwise exempt under subsection (1), this act does not authorize the withholding of a public record in the possession of the executive office of the governor or lieutenant governor, or an employee of either executive office, if the public record is transferred to the executive office of the governor or lieutenant governor, or an employee of either executive office, after a request for the public record has been received by a state officer, employee, agency, department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority, or other body in the executive branch of government that is subject to this act.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977 ;-- Am. 1978, Act 329, Imd. Eff. July 11, 1978 ;-- Am. 1993, Act 82, Eff. Apr. 1, 1994 ;-- Am. 1996, Act 553, Eff. Mar. 31, 1997 ;-- Am. 2000, Act 88, Imd. Eff. May 1, 2000 ;-- Am. 2001, Act 74, Imd. Eff. July 24, 2001 ;-- Am. 2002, Act 130, Eff. May 1, 2002 ;-- Am. 2002, Act 437, Eff. Aug. 1, 2002 ;-- Am. 2006, Act 482, Imd. Eff. Dec. 22, 2006
Compiler's Notes: For transfer of powers and duties of department of history, arts, and libraries or the Michigan historical center relating to the identification, certification, and preservation of historical sites to the Michigan state housing development authority, see E.R.O. No. 2009-26, compiled at MCL 399.752.
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


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15.243a Salary records of employee or other official of institution of higher education, school district, intermediate school district, or community college available to public on request.

Sec. 13a.

Notwithstanding section 13, an institution of higher education established under section 5, 6, or 7 of article 8 of the state constitution of 1963; a school district as defined in section 6 of Act No. 451 of the Public Acts of 1976, being section 380.6 of the Michigan Compiled Laws; an intermediate school district as defined in section 4 of Act No. 451 of the Public Acts of 1976, being section 380.4 of the Michigan Compiled Laws; or a community college established under Act No. 331 of the Public Acts of 1966, as amended, being sections 389.1 to 389.195 of the Michigan Compiled Laws shall upon request make available to the public the salary records of an employee or other official of the institution of higher education, school district, intermediate school district, or community college.


History: Add. 1979, Act 130, Imd. Eff. Oct. 26, 1979
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.244 Separation of exempt and nonexempt material; design of public record; description of material exempted.

Sec. 14.

(1) If a public record contains material which is not exempt under section 13, as well as material which is exempt from disclosure under section 13, the public body shall separate the exempt and nonexempt material and make the nonexempt material available for examination and copying.

(2) When designing a public record, a public body shall, to the extent practicable, facilitate a separation of exempt from nonexempt information. If the separation is readily apparent to a person requesting to inspect or receive copies of the form, the public body shall generally describe the material exempted unless that description would reveal the contents of the exempt information and thus defeat the purpose of the exemption.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.245 Repeal of MCL 24.221, 24.222, and 24.223.

Sec. 15.

Sections 21, 22 and 23 of Act No. 306 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being sections 24.221, 24.222 and 24.223 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, are repealed.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


15.246 Effective date.

Sec. 16.

This act shall take effect 90 days after being signed by the governor.


History: 1976, Act 442, Eff. Apr. 13, 1977
Popular Name: Act 442
Popular Name: FOIA


© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan

Rendered 12/15/2017 14:59:21 Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 171 of 2017
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