State Senate OKs bills expanding Open Meetings Act

General Assembly

February 18, 2004

The Maryland Senate passed two measures yesterday that would expand the number of public bodies subject to the state's Open Meetings Act and make it easier for a citizen to file suit for an agency's failure to comply with the law.

Senators voted 43-0 in favor of a bill to change the definition of a "public body" to include a multimember board, commission or committee appointed by an official under the direction of the governor or local executive. A second bill, approved 43-1, would delete wording in the state law that says only people "affected adversely" by a public body's failure to comply with the Open Meetings Act may sue in Circuit Court, and replace it with phrasing that says "any person" may sue.

The bills now await consideration in the House of Delegates. A House committee has passed a measure similar to the bill allowing any citizen to sue over violations of the Open Meetings Act and moved it to the floor for a full vote.

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