Freedom of Information Act Request Form for a Local Government Explained

Freedom of Information Act Freedom of Information Act Request Form for a Local Government Explained

Is There a Freedom of Information Act Request Form for a Local Government?

By filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, you demand access to available records managed by the government and get insight into the actions of its bodies. The federal FOIA contains numerous rules and regulations, but do they apply in all cases?

In this article, we are searching for the answer to the question—does a Freedom of Information Act request form for a local government exist? Check out our guide to get familiar with all the details and learn how to request any type of public records fast and easy with DoNotPay!

Who Does FOIA Apply To?

The general Freedom of Information Act, signed into law in 1966, doesn’t cover state or local government bodies—it applies only to federal agencies. 


Each U.S. state has a state-specific freedom of information act that applies to local government agencies. Such laws are similar to the FOIA as the authorities modeled them after it, but they are adapted to local needs.

The main difference usually lies in different regulations related to the FOIA request fees, exemptions, response time, or ways to check the status of the request

Is There Always a Specific FOIA Request Form for Local Agencies?

Some local government bodies provide printable request forms, but it’s a rare situation. Most states’ public record laws don’t propose official ready-made templates you can use—you usually need to compose a request from scratch by yourself. 

What Should a FOIA Local Government Request Look Like?

Most state and local government bodies recommend filing a written FOIA request since it gives you enough room to specify the type of records you need. 

The first step is to determine which local government agency you need to request the records from. Once you locate it, you should examine the public records law guide for that state and check whether it has any specific requirements. 

The following table shows some general dos and don’ts related to writing requests that work in most cases:

A FOIA Request Should Contain A FOIA Request Shouldn’t Contain
  1. Your personal information, including name, address, email address, phone number, etc.
  2. Basic info about the agency in question—name and address
  3. Preferred way of receiving the required records—physical or electronic copies
  4. Thorough description of the records you are requesting—records names, authors, descriptions, etc.
  5. Optional request for a fee waiver or expedited processing if you want to use such benefits
  • Incomplete contact information—if you don’t provide enough details, the agency won’t be able to get in touch with you 
  • Unclear explanations—lack of details won’t help officials track down the desired records

Writing a Freedom of Information Act Local Government Request? We Can Help

Filing a FOIA request for a specific local government body can be a true nightmare. The laws aren’t always comprehensible, and people who aren’t familiar with legal procedures can find them frightening. 

If you’re not ready to write a request by yourself, DoNotPay can do it for you! 

Here’s what the request procedure with our app looks like:

  1. Visit DoNotPay in your preferred web browser
  2. Locate the FOIA feature by using the search field
  3. Select State Agency or Federal Agency
  4. Specify the agency name and provide more info on the desired records—titles, authors, descriptions, subjects, etc.
  5. Indicate whether you want to use benefits such as fee waivers or expedited processing

We will create a state-specific request letter based on the details you submit and send it to the institution in question. The best part is that you can use our service from your phone or computer and repeat the process as many times as you want!

DoNotPay Lets You Request Records From Any State or Federal Agency With Ease

We created a huge database that covers federal and all state and local acts and laws pertaining to the freedom of information. Thanks to that, you can request public information from:

DoNotPay’s guides provide you with answers to all FOIA-related questions, including:

If you feel like learning more about particular states’ FOIA request procedures, our knowledge base is at your disposal. Check out the ways people request public records in Ohio, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, or any other U.S. state!

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