New legislation would update Maryland Public Information Act, improve access to public records

When Maryland adopted its public information policy 45 years ago, email hadn't been invented yet, commercial laser printers were being refined for the market and the ink on the federal Freedom of Information Act was barely dry.

On Tuesday open government advocates began their push to update the Maryland Public Information Act of 1970.

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Md. Local Governments Lax In Learning About Open Meetings

State officials say more than 60 percent of Maryland local governments haven’t complied with a 2013 state law requiring training in the state’s Open Meetings Act.

The Carroll County Times reported Sunday that that the Open Meetings Compliance Board sees lots of room for improvement. Chairwoman Monica Johnson says local officials must be educated about the law.

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Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh promises more open government

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh is promising to make government documents more accessible under the Maryland Public Information Act.

“We want to make government open,” Frosh said during an appearance Friday at the Annapolis Summit hosted by Marc Steiner. “We want to make (government) transparent. We want to make it easy for people to get information. I think my office can help do that.”

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UFO investigations in Maryland get second life in online trove of Air Force documents

In the summer of 1949, special military investigators and Maryland state troopers descended on an old tobacco farm in Glen Burnie and discovered something bizarre in a rundown barn: "prototypes" of a flying saucer.

The rudimentary flying machines were determined to have human origins — the work of an eccentric designer who had disappeared — but their discovery nonetheless was outlined in classified Air Force documents as part of a secret program to track sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, across the country.

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LWV study suggests Calvert Co (MD) needs more transparent government

The League of Women Voters of Calvert County released a nearly 80-page report on its findings regarding the transparency of the Calvert County government, using three 'case studies' in the group's analysis: the expansion of the Dominion Cove Point facility in Lusby, development surrounding the former Calvert Middle School property and the preparation of the annual county budget and Capital Improvement Plan.

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Myersville (pop. 1,678)to adopt Freedom of Information policy

Residents will soon have the option to request town data using Myersville’s Freedom of Information policy. No one has questioned why the Maryland rural western Frederick County town of 1,678 residents did not have a Freedom of Information Act, Town Manager Kristin Aleshire said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re just keeping up with the times,” Aleshire said.

Myersville, incorporated in 1904, may adopt a policy that is similar to the Hyattsville FOIA model. “We found it to be a good fit for a smaller town,” Aleshire said.

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Amtrak provides crude oil train details states had withheld

Two loaded and two empty crude oil trains operate daily over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor in Maryland and Delaware, according a document submitted by the passenger railroad in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Last month, Norfolk Southern, the freight railroad that operates the crude oil trains, went to court in Maryland to block the state Department of the Environment from making the same information available to McClatchy and the Associated Press.

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Open Data Policy called step forward for Md. transparency

Maryland was recently ranked 46th in the nation for transparency, but a new law could put the state ahead with a policy requiring that data be made more easily accessible to the public.
Though officials post a good deal of public information on Maryland's StateStat database, advocates of open government say that data can be hard to evaluate, search and use because it is not formatted in a way that computers can easily scan.

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Bill would provide more information on Md. government contracts

Greater transparency in Maryland government contracting is the goal of legislation that would provide more information about each contract on a state website.

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee is considering a bill that would pour $1.4 million into the growth of the website that allows the public to view payments made to state contractors.

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