Attorney General Proposes Open Government Reforms

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Maryland Attorney General and undeclared gubernatorial candidate Douglas Gansler planned to unveil a series of open government reforms at a forum held on July 24.  A Washington Post article provides coverage of the forum:

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler proposed several steps Wednesday to increase “transparency and accountability” in state government, including the creation of an inspector general to facilitate more access to public information.  …

Gansler said the need for reforms was highlighted by a recent “Corruption Risk Report Card” by the Center for Public Integrity and other groups on which Maryland received an overall grade of D- and ranked 40th among states. …

The Attorney General unveiled six open government proposals at the forum.  The proposals include:  (1) creating a public information inspector general, (2) creating a comprehensive Open MD Transparency web portal; (3) requiring all meetings between State agencies and other parties about potential regulation to be subject to Maryland’s Open Meetings Act; (4) creating a database showing any state contracts awarded to a corporation and the corporation’s campaign contributions; (5) hosting open source “democracy innovation labs” to develop better open government technology; and (6) providing local governments grants and infrastructure support to replicate and link local expenditure tracking to state portals.  A July 24 MarylandReporter.com article provides further details on each of the six proposals.

A July 25 Baltimore Sun editorial supports the Attorney General’s proposals but argues that further changes are needed:

[The Attorney General’s transparency proposals] should now be the baseline for what all candidates for governor  from both parties propose. In fact, we hope others take the issue further.  Maryland should address the arbitrary costs and delays that are now commonly  imposed on those who seek government records, and it should make officials’  ethics filings more easily accessible. Transparency is not a partisan issue, and  it is not one that should be forgotten after Election Day.

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