Maryland FOIA Laws

Maryland Open Meetings Act

The Maryland Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which pubic meetings are conducted. A meeting is a gathering of a quorum of the public body for the transaction of public business. Some exemptions include: public bodies acting in an administrative, judicial or quasi-judicial capacity unless the public body is meeting to discuss granting a license or permit or zoning laws or chance encounters or social gatherings.

If violated, a suit must filed within 45 days of discovering the violation. Violation fines will not exceed $100.

Open Meetings Law Md. StateGov'tCodeAnn. §§10-501 etseq.

Closed: Discussion of the individual characteristics of a person; certain personnel matters; collective bargaining; and real estate transactions.

Maryland Public Information Act

The Maryland Public Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Maryland. Public records are defined by the Code of Maryland as documents in any form, made or received by a public body which pertain to government business.

According to the Maryland Public Information Act, any person or governmental unit can make public records requests unless it is otherwise indicated by statute. There are not any requirements concerning a statement of purpose, however, if the custodian of the records decides that inspection would go against the public interest, he/she may deny the record for up to ten days. The use of criminal records for the solicitation of legal services is prohibited by law. The department has 30 days to either grant or deny the request.

Open Records Law Md. State Gov't Code Ann. §§10-611 et seq.

Exempt: Information that invades individual privacy; trade secrets; public policy development memos; and investigative materials.

Visit, Maryland Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.