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Murphy’s Law — Your MDDC Update from Executive Director Jack Murphy for March 14, 2013

No news is good news for region's newspapers
By Jack Murphy

This has been a fairly quiet week for us in Annapolis, with no hearings of note and little action on the issues we are following.

The budget bill has passed in the House with the language we requested, continuing publication of the comptroller’s abandoned property list in newspapers. The Senate version of the bill does not have this language at present, so we will await the conference committee to see if we will prevail. The conference committee will not be appointed until later in the session, so it is likely we will be waiting for the final decision for a while.

The crossfiled bills making permanent the right to get public records in electronic format have passed both Houses with identical language. Now, either the House or the Senate needs to pass the other’s bill for it to go to the governor for his signature. We expect that to happen soon. The record bill was amended two years ago, but the provision would expire this fall unless the legislature acted.

We have seen no action yet on the Maryland Municipal League’s public notice bill, to allow counties and cities to post notices on their own websites rather than in newspapers. And the House Judiciary Committee has not acted on the right of publicity bill that would harm sales of memorabilia by newspapers. The sponsor has been working on changes to the bill, but we remain opposed.

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