Heavier Hammer Proposed for Open Meetings Compliance Board

As described in the Maryland Reporter, Delegate Dan Morhaim, Chair of the Government Operations subcommittee, plans on introducing a bill to beef up the regulatory powers of the Open Meetings Compliance Board, allowing it to fine public bodies for illegally closing meetings.  The Reporter notes,

The civil penalties could be up to $1,000 for the first offense and up to $10,000 for a third offense. Even if the board chooses not to impose the fines, the members of any public body violating the act would have to personally sign an acknowledgement that the Open Meetings board had ruled against them. The findings of the three-member board could also be admitted as evidence in a lawsuit.

The Maryland Reporter editor has advocated for compliance with the open meetings requirements, as described in our post, MarylandReporter.com Editor Calls For Stronger Open Meetings Compliance Board

Open Government practices were also a theme at MACo’s recent Winter Conference.  For more information on the topic: MACo Winter Conference Panel Discusses Open Government

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