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.Read More
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.Read More
The “chilling effect” of the current fees for public information requests in Maryland has spurred lawmakers to propose an overhaul bill that will update the process.Read More
A wide range of nonprofit groups, including Common Cause and the newspaper association, are supporting a major reform of Maryland’s Public Information Act that will limit and standardize fees, close exemptions and establish a compliance board for appeals that could also levy fines.Read More
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.”Read More
The Society of Professional Journalists, the National Newspaper Association and 36 other journalism and open government groups sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday asking him to stop “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies.”Read More
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.Read More
In a flurry of activity to meet Monday’s deadline for bills sent to the Senate for action, the House of Delegates passed over 210 bills since Friday, most of them with unanimous or near unanimous votes.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
The website, Maryland Legislative Watch, has released newly aggregated voting records for each delegate and senator in the General Assembly. Previously, those votes were not available by member, said founder and coordinator Elizabeth Myers.Read More
As he prepares to run for governor, Attorney General Doug Gansler is proposing a six-point Good Government overhaul to beef up accountability and transparency on state spending. This includes a new public information inspector general to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively.Read More
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