ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — With the Maryland General Assembly just weeks away from concluding its 2021 session, lawmakers are hoping to bring more accountability to the legislative process.
In the House of Delegates, Delegate Brooke Lierman from Baltimore City has a bill to make state records and government documents more accessible to citizens of the state. Montgomery County State Senator Cheryl Kagan wants that same level of transparency to apply to meetings of public officials, at both the state and local levels.
“Activists and the average voter benefits,” said Kagan, vice-chair of the Education, Health & Environment Committee. “The average resident deserves to have knowledge about the issues that we’re working on. About the ways that we’re looking to spend their hard-earned taxpayer money.”
This legislation requires that the public have at least 24 hours’ notice before any government meeting and that all documents relevant to that meeting be available to the public. There’s a little bit of a rough patch in Senator Kagan’s home county, though, where county executive Marc Elrich wanted to waive public access to certain records. Senator Kagan and citizen groups like Common Cause want those restrictions lifted.
Senator Kagan draws on the experience of the pandemic when so many meetings were accessible online. Even after COVID is behind us, Senator Kagan says that she wants that same level of access to citizens across the state.