Citizens may appeal a public body’s FOIA decision. But an appeal is not considered “received” until a public body’s next official meeting, which needlessly delays the appeals process. Amendments shorten the timeline for a government to respond to an administrative appeal to seven calendar days. They also eliminate a public body’s ability to take an extension for responding to an appeal, which creates unnecessary delay.
In addition, lawyers who represent either themselves or their own firms are entitled to attorneys’ fees, to encourage more appeals. Importantly, the amendments also clarify that even a partially victorious appeal (i.e. one which results in the disclosure of only some additional records) is sufficient to award a requestor’s attorneys’ fees and costs.