TESTIMONY TO THE SENATE EDUCATION, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
HB 658 Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government - Study on Appeals Under the Maryland Public Information Act
BY: Susan Cochran, President
DATE: March 27, 2014
The members of the League of Women Voters nationwide believe that democratic government depends on an informed citizenry and that governmental bodies must protect that right by making public records available. When such governmental bodies deny a request for information or charge excessive fees for providing public information to a citizen, that citizen must have the opportunity for redress of such denial. HB 658 provides for study by a joint committee of the legislature to review an appellate process for these denials. While we believe that a process similar to the Open Meetings Compliance Board would have worked well as an appellate process as originally provided in HB 658, we certainly support a study by the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government to recommend an orderly appellate process for denials of citizens’ requests for public information.