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Government Transparency Advocates Push To Reform Maryland's Public Information Act

Jon Newman / Flickr / Creative Commons

How do journalists bring important stories to light? Sometimes a a well-placed source spills the beans. Sometimes a whistle-blower comes forward. Another important way may be less familiar to you: Public Information Act requests. They allow a journalist, non-profit, a business, or anyone, to request information held by the state and local governments.  Maryland’s Public Information Act was enacted in 1970. That was before email, before desktop computers, way before thumb drives. It hasn’t seen a major update since then. But, some journalists and advocacy groups want to reshape it.

Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Bonnie Cullison, both Democrats from Montgomery County, are sponsoring bills (SB0695 / HB0755)  to overhaul the Public Information Act. With me to talk about it is Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland, an organization that advocates for more government transparency.

Audio for this segment will be available by the end of the day.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.