MACo Policy Analsyst Natasha Mehu testified in opposition of SB 934, Local Government Tort Claims Act – Notice Requirement – Exception, to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on March 3, 2016. Mehu was joined by Nicholas Blendy (also on behalf of MACo) and Bill Jorch from MML.
The bill would waive the notice requirement of the LGTCA for an alleged employment discrimination case filed with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) in accordance with § 20-1004 of the State Government Article.
From the MACo testimony:
This Committee and the General Assembly considered and amended both the LGTCA notice provision and damage caps last year. MACo supported multiple reasonable changes to laws governing lawsuits against local governments, and urges the Committee to honor that resolution. …
SB 934 would undermine the ability of a local government to properly conduct investigations in its defense and identify, and if necessary correct, potentially discriminatory employees or practices. As the bill’s fiscal note indicates: “[i]t is unclear at what point a respondent local government is notified of an MCCR complaint (other than an MCCR complaint that corresponds to a complaint filed with a local human relations commission) prior to receiving the results of MCCR’s investigation…”
The bill would also establish a precedent, however potentially narrow, that would allow for the adoption of other notice exceptions, undermining the inherent purpose of the requirement.
An identical cross-filed bill, HB 637, was heard on February 17 in the House.
For more on 2016 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.