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“Public record” is defined by the FOIA as “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.” The FOIA separates public records into two classes: Those that are exempt from public disclosure under section 13(1) of the act; and those that are not exempt from public disclosure under section 13(1) and which are subject to disclosure under the act.
“Writing” is defined by the FOIA as “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.” MEDC regards e-mail to be a means of recording or retaining meaningful content.
“Written request” is defined by the FOIA as “a writing that asks for information, and includes a writing transmitted by facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic means.”
“FOIA coordinator” is defined by the FOIA as an individual designated by a public body to accept and process requests for public records under the act. The FOIA Coordinator may appoint Assistant FOIA Coordinators to accept and process FOIA requests.
All MEDC employees must always work through the assigned Freedom of Information Act Coordinator in responding to such requests to ensure that consistent and correct responses are provided to the public.
Any request for information may be considered a FOIA request and within the request, includes words such as “freedom of information”, “information”, “FOIA”, “copy”, or a recognizable misspelling of such within the first 250 words of the request.
All FOIA requests must be received in writing and shall be submitted to the attention of the FOIA Coordinator by mail at 300 North Washington Square, Lansing, MI 48913 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at (517) 241-5968.
Subject to Section 4 of the FOIA, the MEDC fee schedule specifies the rates that will be charged for labor, copying, and other necessary expenses permitted under the FOIA. The fee schedule is available from the FOIA Coordinator and is updated periodically.
The FOIA Coordinator will work with staff to determine the fees that may be charged. Individuals who submit an affidavit stating that they are receiving public assistance or showing inability to pay costs because of indigency shall not be charged for the first $20.00 of the fee for each request. Persons representing public interest groups may have the entire fee waived. Determination of eligibility for fee waivers shall be made by the Chief Executive Officer.
At the time that a FOIA request is made, the FOIA Coordinator may request a good faith deposit not to exceed one-half of the total fees and costs from the person requesting the public record(s), if the total fees and costs exceed $50.00.