In addition to my comments in the FOIA Lecture about this assignment, the assignment is simply to make a written request to a public body, sent by letter or email, that describes a public record sufficiently to enable the public body to find it. You do not have to cite to the Michigan FOIA in your request, but it is usually helpful to the public body so that it knows that the letter or email is not just a citizen inquiry on some matter. For example: “Under the Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting a copy of the document that shows the total expenditure for road salt used by the XYZ County Road Commission for fiscal year 2016-2017.”
To avoid incurring fees for the request, I suggest that you ask for something basic similar to the above example or similar to a request for “the record showing the total compensation for the XYZ School District Superintendent for school year 2016-2017.” These are just examples, and I don’t want you to use them verbatim. Decide the subjects of your own requests. The request can be made to a local, county, or state unit of government. For this assignment, do not send a request to MSU. I want you to work with other types of government entities. Do not state in your request that you are doing this as a class assignment. The requester is not required or obligated under the FOIA to disclose the requester’s reason, purpose, or motivation for making the FOIA request. Finally, do not make a request to a Michigan public body citing the federal FOIA? Why not? And, for this assignment, I want you to only make FOIA requests to Michigan public bodies, not federal agencies.
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