Hearing on Disciplinary Records
A hearing on the first of the 5 Reforms that LWVMD is supporting, SB 178 - Public Information Act - Personnel Records - Investigations of Law Enforcement Officers (Anton's Law) was held on January 21st. You can watch the presentation by the sponsor, the witness testimony and legislator discussion here.
This bill would amend Maryland’s Public Information Act (MPIA) which prohibits disclosure of disciplinary files. It would change the law to state that investigation of misconduct by a law enforcement officer, including an internal investigatory record, a hearing record and records relating to a disciplinary decision would not be considered personnel records and therefore remove police discipline files from the “shall deny” section of the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) and put them in the “may deny” section of the MPIA. This would allow the possibility of investigating how a complaint of police misconduct was handled.
Future Hearing on Mental Health Services in Schools
The next hearing on one of our priority bills: HB 496 Primary and Secondary Education - Mental Health Services - Expansion (Counselors Not Cops Act) will take place on Wednesday, February 3 in the House Ways and Means Committee. You can watch the hearing live, or wait until I send you the link to the exact portion of the hearing that addresses this bill. It would divert the $10 million dollars that the state now gives to local school districts to hire armed police officers to work in schools on a regular basis and instead require that those funds be used to contract with school psychologists, social workers and counselors or to expand the availability of other mental and behavioral health services.
To learn more about the reforms to policing that LWVMD is supporting, read our Issue Paper. Or register to attend our Winter Workshop on Saturday, January 30th from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.