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Legislative Update

Maryland, Delaware and DC Session Highlights
In the closing weeks of Delaware's legislative session, we are monitoring several bills, which are detailed below.

Maryland's session ended in April. It was a successful year for the press association. We were able to defeat efforts to move government notice online. Although attacks are still expected, we are managing this issue well and presenting testimony in a cohesive, compelling way. For the first time in five years, the governor’s budget did not include removing the abandoned property list from publication.

We were able to successfully advocate for the passage of HB 385, which expanded shield law to independent contractors. Special thanks go to Jim McLaughlin, GA committee chair, who was very involved with the bill. Sandy Rosenberg sponsored it and is very committed to these issues. Passage of this bill was groundbreaking and it is an element of pride to move the issue in MD. We pushed to recognize that PIA needs to be amended to provide an appeals forum, and pushed to expand the duties of the open meetings compliance board. This issue was sent to summer study and MDDC is a named participant.

In the District of Columbia, Rebecca Snyder will attend a workshop hosted by the DC Open Government Coalition on June 24th to help draft the Open Government Action Plan that the Coalition will encourage the incoming administration to implement.
Open Meetings/FOIA
There are a handful of bills moving through the Delaware General Assembly that make changes to the open meetings and FOIA laws. Although not groundbreaking, important to note.

* HB 320, requires draft minutes to be available for review 10 days after the conclusion of the meeting of a public body, including those public bodies that meet infrequently (less than 4 times a year). Waiting for House concurrence.
* HB 321, requires each public body to provide the name and contact information for its FOIA coordinator. Additionally, it requires the Attorney General to publish a training manual every 2 years and to open training meetings to the public. Pending in the Senate Executive Committee.
* HB 322, clarifies that FOIA requests can be submitted via U.S. Mail. Passed both the House and Senate.
* HB 323, requires that annual or biennial reports published by public bodies of state government to be posted in a central online repository. Pending on the Senate Floor.
* HB 331, requires the University of Delaware and the Delaware State University Board of Trustees to provide access to documents related to procurement of goods, services, capital improvements, and capital acquisitions. The Board of Trustees under current law were exempt from the definition of a public body. Pending in the House Administration Committee.

Abandoned Property

It is likely the Senate and House will pass a joint resolution looking to study all aspects of Delaware’s abandoned property process, including the audit and escheats process. Corporations continue to make the case that Delaware’s process is too aggressive, unbalanced, and jeopardizing Delaware’s status as the best state to incorporate a business.

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