Tag: Transparency

House passes major changes to public records access

Major changes to the Public Information Act reported on earlier have now passed both the House and Senate in essentially the same form.

HB755 passed the House Wednesday 139-1, and SB695 passed the Senate unanimously March 25.

“This is a big step forward,” said Del. Dan Morhaim, the floor leader and a long-time champion of open government and transparency measures.

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Legislation creates compliance board and ombudsman for public information requests

Major changes are in the works for getting public records from state and local governments in Maryland designed to make the process easier, more uniform and less expensive.

In a unanimous vote, a Senate committee brought legislation to the floor Monday night that will create a new Public Information Act Compliance Board to oversee fees. It will also establish that those fees must be actual costs to assemble the records — with the first two hours free — and create a new ombudsman in the office of the Attorney General to mediate and offer guidance to all government agencies about requests for public records.

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Incoming attorney general promises greater transparency

Incoming Attorney General Brian Frosh promised to be “a strong advocate of transparency and openness” in a speech celebrating the 40th anniversary of Common Cause in Maryland, citizen group committed to open government issues.

“It is important the office of attorney general has a uniform approach” to enforcing the state’s Public Information Act, Frosh said. “The default ought to be that we’re going to give you the information that you seek.”

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New law aims at better access to Md. government data as state gets B- for transparency

Some people don’t like how much Maryland spends or how it spends it, but an outside group says the state is getting a little better at reporting on where taxpayer dollars go.

At the same time, a bill passed unanimously and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley Tuesday is designed to make more of Maryland’s government data more available and searchable to everyone through creation of a new Council on Open Data.

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Senators object to bill that would force most legislators to commute

Sen. Allan Kittleman’s colleagues on a Senate committee were clearly unhappy with his legislation that would force most of them to commute and no longer reimburse their lodging in Annapolis during the session.

Kittleman, R-Howard and Carroll, has again introduced legislation that would restrict the housing stipend legislators are permitted during session – a maximum $101 per day – to those living more than 50 miles from Annapolis.

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Marylanders unhappy with information flow on laws, regs, taxes

Two thirds of voters are not satisfied with the information they get about Maryland laws, regulations and taxes, according to the results of a mobile phone survey being released Thursday by the OpenGov Foundation. The foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on using technology to make public information more accessible, also found that 78% of Maryland voters want advance notification about Maryland policies that will impact them.

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