Maryland Association of Counties Associate Director Les Knapp and Caroline County Attorney Ernie Crofoot testified against House Bill 58 before the Health and Government Operations Committee on January 20. The bill, introduced by Delegate Michael Smigiel, would require bodies created through a memorandum of understanding, memorandum of agreement, or a contract entered into by the chief executive of a local government to comply with Maryland’s Open Meetings Act. (MACo written testimony)
Delegate Smigiel testified that the bill closed a loophole in the Open Meetings Act, and only targeted those “actively seeking to subvert the Open Meetings Act.” Mr. Knapp countered that the bill was unnecessary, imposed additional burdens on local government but not the State, and contained overly broad language that could unintentionally make many bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act. Mr. Crofoot concurred, noting that intent was not part of the Open Meetings Act and that if there was a problem, it could be addressed through better education.
The Maryland-DC Press Association testified in support of the bill.