MACo needs help ensuring that Senators vote to support SB 788, to protect victims and ensure transparency. One little word could change everything.
SB 788 – Public Information Act – Revisions is on the docket for the Senate EHE Committee on March 13, 2018. This is a MACo Initiative bill – 1 of 4 top priorities set by the 24 county jurisdictions.
The main focus of this bill is ensuring government transparency and accountability while shielding victims of sexual crimes, domestic violence, and child abuse from having their very private – and very traumatic – information needlessly shared. With new technology such as body cameras, more private details are available now than have ever been available before. This bill allows record custodians to focus on videos that are in the public interest, while protecting the identities of victims.
Opponents of the bill want to change SHALL to MAY. Shall ensures victims will be shielded. MAY makes it an option.
Do you want protecting victims to be an option? MACo doesn’t.
Here are the key points of the bill:
- ENSURES TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY
- Video in the public interest (where someone’s rights may have been violated) is subject to disclosure
- Even a spoken allegation of potential misconduct is enough to trigger disclosure
- PROTECTS VICTIMS:
- Shields identity of victims of sexual crimes, domestic violence, and child abuse
- Shuts down “victim shaming”
- RESIST “SHALL” TO “MAY” AMENDMENT – Making victim disclosure optional by changing “SHALL” to “MAY” (as opponents suggest) will “just protect victims sometimes.” MAY IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
MACo’s Message: MAY = MAYBE. SHALL = SHIELD.
Join Maryland’s counties in getting this message to legislators.
Tell your EHE members to SUPPORT SB 788 and RESIST the “SHALL” to “MAY” amendment.
Contact Les Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410.269.0043 for more info.