R5A

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An “informal request” can be made. SDCL § 1-27-35. If that is denied in whole or in part, then a formal written request can be made. SDCL § 1-27-27.

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Under the public records act, as well as the specific statutes governing confidential documents, the request for a document should be submitted directly to the custodian of the document. The request does not have to be in writing but any refusal can be reduced to affidavit form in the event the requester desires to litigate the issue. Because access to immediate district court resolution is available in Montana, there is no need to reduce the request to writing. However, the attorney general has ruled that governments may require that the request be reduced to writing.

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Although the Act does not prohibit oral requests, a request must be in writing before § 552.301 applies. Under that section, a governmental body that receives a written request for information it considers exempt from disclosure (even though there has been no specific previous determination that such information is exempt) must ask for a decision from the Attorney General within 10 days of receiving the written request. § 552.301(a) and (b). Oral requests do not trigger this 10-day deadline. See Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-304 (1982).

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