Note: For state agencies and employees, Michigan has a comprehensive contact directory available here.
Michigan’s public records law drew considerable attention during the Flint Water Crisis, when national attention turned the spotlight on the exemption of the Governor’s office. While the subsequent – and so far unheeded – calls for reform presented this as a blight on the state’s otherwise sterling reputation for transparency, it’s actually entirely in keeping with the Michigan FOIA’s approach of broad application with specific carve outs.
For example - the offices of the legislature is covered, but individual members are exempt. Any private entity that primarily operates on public funding is covered, except for certain offices of entirely-publicly funded state universities. The definition of “record” is broadly considered to be anything written – including recordings, interesting enough – but with a specific carve out for computer programs. This applies to even who can request records – even though Michigan doesn’t have a citizenship requirement, it does exempt individuals who are currently incarcerated – regardless of which state they’re incarcerated in.
This edge-case friendly approach makes it hard to have any useful generalizations about the law works, and necessitates, more than most, a familiarity with the law. Anticipate pitfalls, and get ready to push back, or find another way to get what you’re looking for.
- Prompt response time required, usually within several days
- No administrative appeal
- Awards attorneys fees and possibly punitive fees of $100 per day
Can you submit a request if you’re not a resident?
To whom does this apply?
Yes, but Governor is exempt.
Yes, but individual members are exempt.
Who is exempted?
Check list for specific examples.
Is there a designated records custodian?
How long do they have to respond?
While there is not set deadline, agencies are expected to respond promptly.
Does the agency have to give you a tracking number or estimated date of completion?
Can they ask why you ask?
Are there fee waivers for media requests or those made in the public interest?
Attorney’s fees - Can you win them?
Yes, provided you win your appeal in court.
Exemptions and Appeals
What exemptions exist?
Do they have to tell you why a portion or pages were redacted or withheld?
Public offices must either “notify the requester of any redaction or make the redaction plainly visible.”
How much time do you have to appeal?
Can you appeal to the courts?
Yes, litigation is the only resource for rejected requests.
Attorneys and Law Firms
The following attorneys and law firms have practiced public records law. Names marked with an asterisk have indicated a willingness to offer pro bono services on a case by case basis.
There are currently no experienced public records law attorneys that we know of in Missouri. Write to us at info@MuckRock.com if you know of any and want to help us out!
News Stories on Public Records Laws in the State
Blogs and feeds primarily focused on public records in Missouri
Public Records Guide and Advice
Big FOIA wins
Have a public records success story? Let us know!
- Request Record
- 763 Filed
- 272 Completed
- 83 Rejected
- 115 No Responsive Documents
- 46 Awaiting Acknowledgement
- 59 Awaiting Response
- 53 Requiring Action
- 90 Overdue
- 4 appeals awaiting response
- Allowed Response Time
- 5 days
- Average Response Time
- 42 days
- Success Rate
- Average Fee
- 17.30% of requests have a fee
Top Agencies See All
|Detroit Police Department||78||1,022|
|Michigan State Police||62||655|
|University of Michigan||31||293|
|Department of Corrections||26||2,225|
|Michigan Department of Attorney General||24||2,715|
|City of Detroit||19||583|
|Oakland County Sheriff's Office||17||436|
|Office of the Governor||16||11|
|Michigan Department of Health and Human Services||15||238|
|Michigan State University||15||458|
Top Localities See All
|Oakland County, MI||23||459|
|Ann Arbor, MI||19||292|
|Wayne County, MI||18||488|
|Calhoun County, MI||10||506|
|Kalamazoo County, MI||7||135|