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Do the amendments to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allow verbal requests of documents?

Generally, FOIA requires that a request of “public records” be in “writing.” A “writing”, as defined by FOIA, does not include a verbal request. The amendments to FOIA, however, do address verbal requests and place a minimal onerous on township employees to respond. If a verbal request is made, the township employee must inform the requestor that the information is available on the township’s website, if the employee knows or believes the information is available on the website. Other than in this limited context, the general rule applies and a request for “public records” must be in “writing.”

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