Marylanders for Open Government call on House and Senate Leadership to ensure this legislative session’s ‘process is fully transparent and accountable’

Last month, the Marylanders for Open Government (MDOG) coalition and partner organizations sent a letter to General Assembly leaders outlining concerns with the reopening guidelines provided by each chamber and the overall ability of Maryland’s Legislature to ensure public access as they convene remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since receiving this letter, the Senate has released committee guidelines which address many all of the clarifying questions outlined in the letter. The coalition has also been in communication with the Senate President’s Office; and the Senate President is taking into consideration the other items on our list of recommendations.

We have not heard from the House Speaker’s office.

We understand the complexity and changing landscape that legislative leaders face. However, Marylanders have a right to view and participate in the work of the General Assembly. With the 90-day legislative session starting this week, we continue to call on Leadership to make adjustments to their previously announced plans, particularly by:

  • providing a clear schedule, at least for the first third of session, on days each chamber will convene,
  • providing a more detailed House operations plan,
  • providing a clear process for communicating issues with streaming to OIS,
  • allowing for audio or video testimony to be accepted for those not selected to provide verbal testimony, and
  • increasing the cap on the number of individuals allowed to testify in the Senate.

Read the letter, with the full list of our recommendations, here.