Counties: Extend Existing Disruption Protections to Local Governing Bodies

On February 8, 2022, Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of HB 427 – Criminal Law – Executive or Legislative Proceedings – Obstruction with amendments. This bill prohibits a person from obstructing or impeding an official proceeding of the Executive or Legislative Branch. MACo is seeking an amendment to extend this provision to apply to local governing bodies.

“If you are persuaded by the logic behind this bill for state proceedings… then we request that you extend that same provision for our local governing bodies, as well,” said Mr. Sanderson.

From the MACo testimony

This bill would make it a misdemeanor to seek to impede the business of the executive or legislative branches through threat, force, or corrupt means. Current law already imposes this standard for interference of court proceedings and HB 427 further recognizes the importance of governing bodies conducting public affairs. The bill does not apply to mere dissent, debate, or opposition to policies, but to a higher standard of actual interference.

The rationale for the bill applies equally to local governing bodies and their own proceedings. MACo requests amendment language to add local governing bodies to this section of state law.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.
Learn more about MACo’s 2022 Legislative Initiatives.Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties