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Published on November 21st, 2011 | by Len Lazarick

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Maryland Register reverses decision to charge consumers for real-time information

By Glynis Kazanjian
Glynis@marylandreporter.com

Maryland RegisterThe Maryland Register, a state news publication that provides updates on state regulations, legal opinions and hearings, has reversed a decision to charge consumers for its real-time, online news. The policy reversal came after two articles and a legislative inquiry highlighted a new annual fee for consumers to view information the same day it was published.

“Yes, the Register is once again available online on the day it’s published for non-paying consumers,” wrote Register Editor Gail Klakring in an e-mail to MarylandReporter.com. “We realized that any change to the availability of Maryland Register has had an unintended impact on the transparency of Government and that was never the intent.”

The policy reversal took place shortly after MarylandReporter.com published a story Nov. 7 confirming an abrupt, new fee imposed by the Secretary of State’s Office. Readers wishing to view the publication in real-time, would have had to pay a $190 annual subscription or wait five days after the bi-weekly publication date. An HTML viewing option was also eliminated for non-payers.

The fee was added in early October after years of not charging for real-time access, prompting a complaint by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce to the state’s Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government. Committee member Del. Heather Mizeur, D-Montgomery, sent a  letter to Secretary of State John McDonough.

“Why did the Department choose to implement this paywall? . . . Why did the Department choose to implement a five-day waiting period for the non-paying public? . . . Has the Department considered allowing public comment on this decision?” Mizeur asked.

Mizeur went on to criticize the Secretary of State’s Office for what appeared to be a reversal in progress in government transparency. She cited 2010 changes in the General Assembly’s policies, including live broadcasting of Board of Public Works hearings, posting online committee votes and eliminating an $800 General Assembly website subscription fee.

Maryland Register readers may again access the publication every-other-Friday, free, in the HTML or pdf version.

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  • Karenlub

    Excellent!.  This was a terrible decision by the Maryland Department of State, and I’m glad to see it was reversed.

  • Communityresearch

    Thanks to Delegate Mizeur for standing up for transparency and equal access.

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  • PARTY

    I GUESS WE ARE STILL THE FREE.STATE….NOT……WHAT IS THE MARYLAND REPORTER………..A NON/PROFIT… ANOTHER  MEDIUM FOR THE STATE TO CONTROL.PUBLIC OPINION….IF IT IS A NON PROFIT ….WHO IS IN CHARGE ,HOW DID THEY  THE GET THE POSITION ,WHO IS PAYING THE BILLS , WHO HAS THE REAL POWER………..ANY THING THE SUN PAPERS  HAS MUCH TO DO WITH IS TAINTED WITH THE ONE PARTY POISON.   TRANSPARANCY, THE EGOS  ARE IN POWER.

    BALTIMORE VOTERS ,ONLY ONE IN TEN ,GAVE A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE? FOR THE NEW MAYOR.  AND I BELIVE MOM ARRESTED ONE IN FIVE MALES IN BALTIMORE IN 2005,MOST ON PETTY CHARGES OR FALSE ARREST.

    WE HAVE GOOD POLITICIANS IN MARYLAND….. NOT GOOD LEADERS.
    IN BALTIMORE A PRINCIPAL OF A PUBLIC SCHOOL DARES TO SPEAK UP WHEN HER STUDENTS ARE IN DANGER ,SHE IS REMOVED FROM HER JOB…WHY.?
    BECAUSE BALTIMORE IS THE CITY THAT GETS YOU BACK….OR  THE CITY/ STATE .THAT PUTS POLITICS BEFORE HONESTY AND GOOD LEADERSHIP.

    BALTIMORE /MARYLAND IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO LIVE DESPITE  POLITICS
     AND BECAUSE OF THE DECENT PEOPLE  WHO LIVE HERE .

    WHO PAYS THE BILLS AT MARLAND REPORTER.??

    • Len Lazarick

      All these questions are answered on the website under “ABOUT” at the top of the home page, which lists mission, founders, foundations and donors.

  • Anonymous

    this State ceases to amaze me…what a joke…I guess they want the little coffee pods in the office…instead of having to brew a pot at a time…how many catered lunches are there at the Maryland Register?…I know the Health Dept in Somerset County which is very poor has several thousand dollar lunches catered a year at their facility…Maryland is such a great State for State employees…unless you are a Mexican…or a School Teacher you have to pay through the nose…so they can eat Pit Beef sandwiches with real Horseradish sauce and Boardwalk Fries…with the Smith Island Cake for desert

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