MI: Loophole Could Make State's Open Records Law a Dead Letter

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June 29, 2017 12:45 PM

Nearly two months have passed since the state of Michigan received a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the school pension system. Yet the law requires public entities to take no longer than 15 business days to respond to a request.

That delay doesn't break the law because there is a loophole with FOIA: The law does not specify when documents responsive to a request must actually be released.

The public school pension FOIA was submitted by Mackinac Center for Public Policy on May 26. It asked for the ages of school employees who had been enrolled in the system over a five year period. State officials exercised their option to trigger the 5 and 10 day extensions. On June 13, which was 12 business days after receiving the FOIA request, the state asked for a payment equal to half the estimated cost of searching out these records, which was $219. Continue...