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Press credentials for the Maryland State House

posted February 10, 2017

Maryland Capitol Police, which is responsible for access and security at Maryland state government buildings, has issued a new press credentials policy.  MDDC Press Association worked closely with the MCP as well as the Society for Professional Journalists and other stakeholders to evaluate the policy and codify current practices. 

The full policy is here, and pasted below.

Department of General Services – Maryland Capitol Police
Policy on State Issued Media Identification Cards

February 2017

Maintaining the Annapolis Complex (State House) as a forum for public debate that is both open and secure is a crucial responsibility of the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Delegates.  The general public, after being cleared through the public entrance security check points, may access the public areas of the State House and other State buildings, in order to visit and observe the work of state government. 

The Department of General Services-Maryland Capitol Police (DGS-MCP) in consultation with the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association (MDDCPA), has revised the policy for the issuance of Maryland State Identification Press Credentials to those members of the media who cover the State’s business from the State House.  Press credentials may be provided to individuals who:

  1. are employed or affiliated with an organization principally devoted to the dissemination of news, or are self-employed or freelancers who regularly engage in original news gathering or take photos for distribution or broadcast to the public as news;
  2. use recognized standards of professional journalism (Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, for example).
  3. have confirmed in writing that, other than in the ordinary course of gathering and disseminating news or making editorial comment to the general public, he or she is not currently engaged in and will not use the credential for engaging or assisting, directly or indirectly in any lobbying, promotion, advertising, or publicity activity intended to influence:
    1. Elections;
    2. Legislation or any other legislative action of the Maryland General Assembly;
    3. Executive action on any matters, particularly concerning legislation or regulations; or
    4. Any matter before any independent State agency, or any other department or other instrumentality of the Executive Branch;
  4. are not employed in any legislative or executive department or independent agency of any branch of federal, state, or local government, or by any foreign government or representative thereof; and
  5. pass a DGS-MCP background check, required for security purposes

Individuals that meet the mandate established in this policy will be deemed eligible to receive a State issued identification card.  Media issued ID cards will be valid for a period of two years, expiring on the date of issue.  There will be no initial charge for Media ID card issuance. If an individual is denied a state press identification card after submitting a written application, the individual will be informed of the basis for the denial and provided the opportunity to respond and seek resolution/reconsideration.

Card holders (while properly displaying the ID card) will be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Ability to bypass public check points, without being screened by magnetometer or x-ray machines (baggage and equipment may still be subject to inspection).
  • Access to Senate and House Chambers, during legislative proceedings.
  • Access to Governor’s Reception Room for media and press events.
  • Access to Senate and House committees, during public hearings.
  • Access to Senate and House Chamber Floor
  • Ability to bypass public checkpoints in the House of Delegates Building and the James/Miller Senate Office Buildings.
  • Access to State employee section of the Navy Lot for parking.
  • Eligible for shuttle transportation to and from the Annapolis Complex.

DGS-MCP reserves the right to revoke a media identification card or limit access otherwise granted to a badge holder, if the State reasonably believes the person violated this policy, presents a security risk, or has disrupted the work of the General Assembly or Executive Branch.  Should this circumstance arise, DGS-MCP will notify the MDDCPA.  In no circumstances will decisions about the issuance, denial, or revocation of press credentials be based upon, or influenced by, the content of the news coverage or editorial views expressed by the individual or his/her organization.

Media personnel are required to return their State issued ID card to DGS-MCP upon separation of employment or changing employers.  Replacement fees for lost ID cards will be established according to COMAR Fees: 1) first loss - $50; 2) second loss $100; 3) each successive loss $250, subject to authorization from DGS-MCP.

Parking on the inside perimeter of State Circle is under the jurisdiction of DGS-MCP.  Unauthorized vehicles are likely to be towed.  The City of Annapolis has jurisdiction over the outside perimeter of State Circle.

Should changes be contemplated to this policy, DGS-MCP will consult with the MDDCPA and other external stakeholders in a timely manner to allow for comment.  MDDCPA will coordinate response from other stakeholder journalism organizations.

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