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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Campaigning Judges May Hear Cases From Attorneys Who Donate

The Maryland Judicial Ethics Committee issued a ruling Tuesday that answered questions over whether judges are required to recuse themselves if they have received campaign contributions from attorneys appearing before them. The Committee ruled that it is up to each judge to make a decision whether recusal is necessary based on the details of the case. Generally, judges must withdraw from proceedings if their impartiality may be reasonably questioned. This has led to debates over…

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PIA Ombudsman Stresses Importance of Accurate Record Custodian Contact Information

Maryland's Public Information Act Ombudsman is reasserting the value of accurate record custodian contact information. Through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis many agencies are changing the way they operate by implementing telework and other policies to encourage social distancing. While these measures make responding to Public Information Act (PIA) requests even more challenging for record custodians, it is important that agencies keep updated contact information of a designated PIA representative conspicuously posted on their website. This…

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SDAT Offers Guidance for Constant Yield Advertisements/Hearings Amid COVID-19 Epidemic

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, counties have implemented several measures designed to prevent community transmission, while at the same time allowing for essential business to continue. With these procedures in mind, the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is offering guidance for counties to comply with the strict procedures governing advertisement and public hearing for tax rate increases above the constant yield tax rate. The constant yield tax rate is calculated by SDAT…

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Public Information Act Timelines During COVID-19 Crisis

The Public Information Act Ombudsman has released general guidance for government record custodians regarding Public Information Act (PIA) timelines during the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance stresses the importance of communication with record requestors and good faith attempts to provide record access.    From the Ombudsman: Q. Does the Public Access Ombudsman have any guidance for State and local governmental custodians about dealing with PIA requests and PIA deadlines in the current COVID-19 crisis? A. Although…

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