Washington County Commissioners Vote to Remove Meinelschmidt Over Ethics Stir, Suit to Follow

The Washington County Commissioners voted to dismiss fellow Commissioner Cort Meinelschmidt from his seat, after a recent ethics matter. The action may end up in court, with authority for the move not fully clear. Cort Meinelschmidt, elected as County Commissioner in 2018, was removed from his seat by a vote of the other sitting Commissioners this week. Their action came in the wake of ethics concerns arising from a fledgling business connected to Meinelschmidt receiving…

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Attorney General Posts Updated Open Meetings Act Manual

The Maryland Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has published the 10th edition of the Open Meetings Act Manual. The Manual outlines the Act’s many provisions and provides important context for public bodies, meeting facilitators, and the public. The revised edition includes updated information and guidance from more recent court cases, and decisions of the Open Meetings Act Compliance Board. From the manual's preface: This latest edition of the Open Meetings Act Manual supplements those…

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MACo Advocates for More Options to Publish Legal Notices

On 19, January 2021 MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified virtually before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee to support SB 305 Legal Advertisement or Legal Notice - Publication in Newspaper or Newspaper in General Circulation - Online Newspapers. This bill would allow legal notices to be published in online newspapers to meet statutory requirements for legal notices. From the MACo Testimony: The number of local papers has declined over time, leaving local governments with…

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MACo Raises Concerns About Changes to The Maryland Data Privacy Act

On January 19, 2021 MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler submitted written testimony to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee to oppose SB 351 State Government - Protection of Information - Revisions (Maryland Data Privacy Act). The bill would change the Maryland Data Privacy Act, changing the processes and procedures of government concerning personal information. From the MACo Testimony: SB 351 would alter the list of data that requires protection under the Maryland Data Privacy…

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Sun Previews Session “Major Issues”

The Baltimore Sun released a preview of major issues facing the General Assembly for the 2021 Session, including police reforms, education, sports wagering. With the 2021 reconvening of the Maryland General Assembly afoot, Maryland's top newspaper covers a range of issues expected to gather attention and ink in the weeks ahead. Unsurprisingly, police reforms are on that list, as many states have responded to calls for social justice in policing tactics and accountability. The legislature…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: Transparency

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview potential action around transparency laws. Maryland's Open Meetings Act and Public Information Act outline transparency or "sunshine" requirements for state and local government agencies. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many government actors to change the way they operated while ensuring they provide the public access to their proceedings. Public bodies…

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MD General Assembly Posts Pre-Filed Bill List

The Maryland General Assembly Senate and House pre-filed bill lists are now available on the General Assembly website. Although the list of pre-file bills are available, there is no bill text at this time. Currently, readers are able to view the bill title, sponsor, and committee assignment. As of today, there are 780 total House and Senate pre-filed bills and resolutions listed on the website. This will be updated to reflect updates on the General…

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Preview the 2021 Session “Big Picture”

A compilation of Issue Papers previews major fiscal and policy issues facing the General Assembly in the year ahead. This year’s report also includes a special section devoted to issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource is a handy guide to the top issues that your legislators will be tackling in 2021 – a great preparation document for county officials in advance of meetings with their local Delegations. Developed by the Department of Legislative…

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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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