The Maryland Freedom of Information Act Explained
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a 1966 federal law that enables you to access certain records and documents containing information about the government’s work. This article will discuss the Maryland Freedom of information Act with regards to the meaning of the Act, exemptions, and methods of filing requests.
We created the simplest request form on our platform that you can use to get the information you need. Filing a FOIA request with the help of DoNotPay will save you time and energy.
Freedom of Information Act in Maryland
The Maryland Freedom of Information Act is also called the Public Information Act (PIA). If you’d like to know more about what types of documents count as public records and who can file the request, check out the table below:
|What Counts as Public Records||Who Can File a PIA Request|
|Any original or a copy of documentary material that a public body created or received. Public records could include:
If the record isn’t exempt from disclosure, anyone can access it.
Maryland's PIA allows for 30 days of response time. After 30 days, the agency must accept or deny the request.
What Are the Exemptions to the Maryland Freedom of Information Act?
There are nine general exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act. Every state has its version of the FOIA and the exemptions.
Maryland exemptions to the PIA forbid the disclosure of the following information:
- Trade secrets
- Investigative materials
- Data that invades personal privacy
- The policy of development methods
- Criminal records that could be used for the solicitation of legal services
How To File a Freedom of Information Act Request in Maryland by Yourself
The process of filing FOIA requests could be complicated because it requires plenty of research and dealing with administrative difficulties. Before filing the request, you should make sure that the information isn’t already available on the agency’s website.
The steps to filing Maryland FOIA requests are listed below:
- Write your FOIA request letter—you can use a template
- Determine which agency holds the records you seek—you can use Maryland’s list of records custodians
- Include your full name and every relevant detail about the documents you’re requesting
- Use the list of records custodians to find the PIA representative
- Send your FOIA request to the PIA representative via the method that they offer
If you want to file a FOIA request on yourself, you’ll have to provide proof of identity.
If you become impatient because of the 30-day rule, some agencies will allow you to check the status of your request. If you can’t find the section for checking the status, you can always contact the PIA representative.
The agency might deny your request. With a strong argument, you can file an appeal and get the information you need.
DoNotPay and Maryland FOIA Requests
The greatest fact about DoNotPay’s FOIA feature is that it works for any agency. This includes agencies in any state, such as Maryland. All you need to do is indicate which type of agency you’re requesting records from, and DoNotPay will do most of the work for you.
The following are some of the states you can use DoNotPay in and agencies we can help with:
How To File a Maryland FOIA Request With DoNotPay
The first action you’ll need to take to file a Maryland FOIA request with DoNotPay is to open our platform in your web browser.
After you access DoNotPay, follow these steps to file a FOIA request smoothly:
- Tell us whether it’s a state, local, or federal agency you’re contacting for documents
- Enter the name of the agency and specify in detail which records or documents you’re after
- Request a fee waiver or expedited processing if you’re eligible
- Submit your request
Following your FOIA request submission, DoNotPay will generate a request letter that we’ll send to the agency on your behalf. All you need to do next is wait for their response. There isn’t a limited number of requests you can submit, so you can use DoNotPay as many times as you like.
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