Attorney General Posts Updated PIA Manual

The Maryland Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has published the 15th edition of the Maryland Public Information Act Manual. The Manual outlines the Act's many provisions and provides important context for record requestors and custodians. The revised edition includes updated information and guidance from more recent court cases, and decisions of the Public Information Act Compliance Board. From the Manual's preface: This manual is designed to be a resource for a range of users,…

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County Ballot Questions: Here’s What We Know

Across Maryland, voters considered a number of ballot questions concerning county governance and structure. Here, Conduit Street provides the latest results for each county-specific ballot question. Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, Somerset, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties did not present voters with any county-specific ballot questions. Vote totals and percentages in this article are based on unofficial results of the Maryland State Board of Elections as of Thursday, November 5,…

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Public Access Ombudsman Issues FY 20 Appendix to Legislature Report

Last week, the Public Access Ombudsman published an Appendix to the Annual Report of the Public Information Act Compliance Board (PIACB).  The report details the actions of the Ombudsman including outreach and training to record custodians. Also included are statistics on record request disputes including length of time to close mediation, information on requestors, and type of dispute.  The report also addresses the impact of COVID-19 on the Ombudsman's activities. From Appendix C of the…

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MACo, MML Release Joint Statement on Proposed Police Body-worn Camera Recordings Legislation

MACo and MML submitted a joint letter of information on proposed legislation regarding the release of police body-worn camera recordings in front of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. The proposed legislation, JPR 8 – Public Information Act – Police Body-worn Camera Recordings, is part of the draft Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. The draft bill provides a framework for when police body-worn camera recordings are to be released under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA).…

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Senate JPR Police Reform Hearing Two of Three Centers on Tech, Torts, and Investigations

The second day of virtual Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee (JPR) hearings on draft police accountability and law enforcement reform legislation for the 2021 session focused on police body cameras, tort claims liabilities, and state prosecutor investigator authority among other issues.  JPR Chair Will Smith jumped right into the day's work noting that the hearing on Wednesday's six bill proposals would follow the same format as the day before. First, the sponsors would introduce the bills.…

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NCSL Presents National Overview to Law Enforcement Body Camera Task Force

A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) briefed the task force on body camera legislation passed across the nation since May 2020. Amanda Widgery, Senior Policy Specialist at NCSL, provided the task force an overview on police body camera legislation that has recently been passed in states across the U.S. Additionally, she shared insight into what role states play in assisting departments with storage; establishing security measures to protect data and enable…

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Delegate Files Open Meetings Act Complaint Against State Board of Education

Delegate Eric Luedtke has filed a complaint with the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board (OMCB) against the Maryland State Board of Education. The complaint relates to the Board's June meeting where it approved a seventeen percent raise for State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon in a closed session. The Open Meetings Act includes an exception that allows public bodies subject to the Act to discuss "personnel matters" behind closed doors, provided they disclose the subject…

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Open Meetings Act Compliance Board Annual Meeting Set for Sept. 14th

The Maryland Open Meetings Act Compliance Board (OMACB) will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting through a virtual format at 3:00 PM on September 14th. The Compliance Board will host its next public meeting on September 14, 2020 at 3:00 PM. The Public is invited to attend the meeting. If you are interested in attending, please contact Ms. Janice Clark (at opengov@oag.state.md.us) before September 13th to receive a link for the meeting to be held through…

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PIA Compliance Board Annual Meeting Set for July 29th

The Maryland Public Information Act Compliance Board (PIACB) will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting through a virtual format at 10:30 AM on July 29th. The Compliance Board will host its next public meeting to discuss their forthcoming 2020 annual report, recap 2020 legislative initiatives, and discuss recommendations for the 2021 General Assembly Session on Wednesday, July 29 at 10:30 AM. The Public is invited to attend the meeting. If you are interested in attending, please…

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Calvert Appoints New Director of Communications

Today the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners announced the appointment of David Fitz as the county government director of the Department of Communications & Media Relations. Fitz takes the position vacated by Linda Vassallo after she was appointed Deputy County Administrator in June. Prior to joining Calvert County government Fitz held a variety of public relations positions including most recently as a Public Affairs Officer at the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “Dave’s background in…

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