Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday FOIA - August 8, 2008

In my Friday FOIA posts, I've talked about how important it is to know your state's laws regarding public records and I've encouraged you to make your public records requests accordingly.

But sometimes, no matter how prepared you think you are, you're just not comfortable with going through the process or with wording your request in a way to ensure you get the records and information you're seeking.

I came across the Student Press Law Center which has a Fully Automated, Fill-in-the-Blanks State Open Records Law Request Letter Generator, available for anyone.

After filling out a form detailing the specifics of your request, it will generate a letter for you to copy&paste or print out. It will include (1) the specific citation for your state's open records law, (2) how much time the law allows for an agency to respond and (3) any specific penalties provided for by the law should government officials fail to comply with your request. You have the ability to modify the letter to your own style.

They also have a form for the federal government, and both are free, though they do include links to make donations.

So, if you're even remotely concerned that your request isn't worded in such a way to ensure a quick response, try these tools to help you get started. You'll soon be a pro!

1 comment:

GraphicsGuy said...

GREAT site for the FOIA 'fill-in-the-blanks' request, Maggie

Maybe if I would have used it 3 months ago, I'd have the records I requested in hand!

(Then again, with the 22nd floors 'batting average', maybe not!)

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