MACo Supports Bill to Switch to Digital Copies of County Codes

Maryland Association of Counties Associate Director Les Knapp testified with bill sponsor Delegate Addie Eckardt in support of HB 111 before the House Environmental Matters Committee on February 4.  As introduced, the bill  allows a charter county to provide a digital copy of its compiled laws and any compilation of its public local laws rather than furnish paper copies to certain State agencies and the county’s legislative delegation.  The bill also reduces the number of copies of its compiled laws that a charter county must provide to the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) from four to one and provides that the copy may either be in digital or printed form.

During her testimony, Delegate Eckardt introduced amendments that would apply the bill to all counties, not just charter counties.  Mr. Knapp expressed support for the bill and Delegate Eckardt’s amendments, noting that the bill essentially modernizes outdated provisions of the Maryland Code.  He noted that all counties except Somerset already have their codes available online and Somerset’s would be online by the end of the year.  He stated that some counties currently spend thousands of dollars a year just to print copies of their code and public local laws to satisfy the current law.

Opponents of the bill raised potential copyright issues that may need to be addressed.  Senator Barry Glassman is the sponsor of an identical bill, SB 174, which is set to be heard before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on February 9.

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