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Advocacy

The Press Association advocates for its members and the industry in Maryland, Delaware and DC. The links below provide more insight into our advocacy areas and positions. 

Legislative Update as of 2/28

The Maryland session is approaching “crossover” on March 16th, which is the date by which bills need to be passed in their original chamber and cross over for consideration by the opposite chamber to have the best chance of passage.  Talk in Annapolis focuses on new revenues to pay for the Kirwin educational reforms and action on crime bills.  MDDC priority bills (either we are pushing them, or they are our top priority to fight) are marked with an asterisk. Here’s what you need to know now:

Maryland

Criminal Law - Death Penalty - Mass Murder (Capital Gazette Shooting Memorial Act) HB1322
Providing that a person who is convicted of first-degree murder may be sentenced to death under certain circumstances; providing that a certain mass murder under certain circumstances constitutes an aggravating circumstance that the court or jury must consider in making a determination as to the imposition of the death penalty; establishing procedures for the imposition of the death penalty; etc. Hearing 3/10, Judiciary.  Monitor – this is disrespectful to the victims.  We will not testify.

* Courts - Civil Actions - Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, HB379 / SB 1042

(Del Rosenberg / Sen Hettleman) Altering the conditions under which a lawsuit is considered a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP suit); specifying the conditions under which a lawsuit is not considered a SLAPP suit; altering the conditions under which a defendant in a SLAPP suit is not civilly liable for certain communications; providing for a plaintiff's burden and the award of certain fees in connection with a motion to dismiss; providing for the prospective application of the Act; etc.  Passed by House Judiciary committee and moves to the floor on 3/9.  Senate hearing is 3/12.

 

Public Information Act / Transparency:

* Public Information Act - Revisions  HB 502 / SB 590
(Lierman)
Requiring each official custodian to adopt a certain policy of proactive disclosure; requiring each official custodian to publish a certain annual report on a certain website, to the extent practicable; requiring the Public Information Act Compliance Board to receive, review, and resolve certain complaints from applicants and applicants' designated representatives; requiring the Board to receive and review complaints from any custodian alleging that an applicant's request or pattern of requests is frivolous or vexatious; etc. Expect a House committee vote on many PIA bills next week; amendments to address stakeholder concerns were put forward for House and Senate bills.

Public Information Act - Remote Access, Fee Complaints, Fee Waivers, and Inspection of Judicial Records (Open Government, Better Government Act) HB 401/ SB 758
(Barron) Establishing the intent of the General Assembly that each official custodian adopt an internet use policy and other technological advances to expand remote access to public records and increase the transparency of government; requiring the Public Information Act Compliance Board to receive, review, and resolve certain complaints alleging that a custodian unreasonably failed to waive a fee under certain circumstances; altering the minimum fee charged under which the Board has authority to review a complaint; etc. . Hearing 2/18 in EHE

Maryland Transportation Authority - Video Streaming and Archiving - Open Meetings, HB 72 / SB 123 (Carr)
Requiring the Maryland Transportation Authority to make available to the public on the Internet live video streaming of each open meeting of the Authority held at the Authority's headquarters or any other location where the Authority held at least 10 meetings in the preceding calendar year; requiring the Authority to make available to the public on the Internet complete and unedited archived video recordings of streamed open meetings; requiring the Authority to make the archived video recordings available for a minimum of 4 years; etc.  Passed House, first reading in EHE.

State Government – Open Meetings – Requirements and Application of Open Meetings Act (Maryland State Agency Transparency Act) HB 421 / SB 363.
(Del Korman / Sen. Kagan) Providing that the Maryland Technology Development Corporation is subject to the Open Meetings Act; requiring certain State agencies to make publicly available on their websites open meeting agendas 48 hours in advance of each meeting or, under certain circumstances, as far in advance of the meeting as practicable; requiring certain State agencies to post on their websites certain meeting minutes not more than 2 business days after the minutes are approved; etc. Passed Senate, first reading in HGO.

Public Information Act - Personnel and Investigatory Records - Complaints Against Law Enforcement Officers SB 1029 / HB 1221
(Sen Carter / Del Clippinger)  Establishing that a record relating to a formal complaint of job-related misconduct made against a law enforcement officer is not a personnel record under certain provisions of the Public Information Act under certain circumstances; authorizing a custodian to deny inspection of certain records involving a complaint of job-related misconduct made against a law enforcement officer; authorizing a custodian to deny inspection of certain records by a complainant only under certain circumstances; etc.: Hearing 3/3 Judiciary

Public Notice:

*Budget Reconciliation Act (BFRA), HB 152 / SB 192
Eliminates printed notice of abandoned property, substituting directional ads to Comptroller website for an anticipated cost savings of $320K annually.   Notice was restored in BFRA passed by Senate Budget & Tax committee.

Anne Arundel County - Alcoholic Beverages - Notice of License Application, SB 180 / HB 329
(Sen Simonaire, Del Chisholm) Authorizing the Board of License Commissioners for Anne Arundel County to fulfill a certain notice requirement by posting online a completed application for an alcoholic beverages license at least 10 days before the application hearing; and altering a certain notice provision to require the applicant for an alcoholic beverages license, rather than the Board, to post a suitable notice at the location described in the application for at least 10 days before the application hearing.  Passed House, Passed Senate EHE committee.

 

Advertising:

*Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax, SB 2 / HB 695
Imposing a tax on annual gross revenues derived from digital advertising services including advertisement services on a digital interface in the State; establishing a presumption that digital advertising services are provided in the State if the digital advertising services appear on a certain device of a certain user; requiring the Comptroller to distribute digital advertising gross revenues tax revenue to administer certain tax laws and the remainder to be distributed to The Blueprint for Maryland's Future Fund; etc.  Passed with minimal amendments from Senate Budget & Tax Committee; will hit full floor Monday.

21st-Century Economy Sales Tax Act, SB 1001 / HB 932
(Sen. Rosapepe / Del. Korman) Requiring the Comptroller to distribute the sales and use tax revenue on the sale or use of certain digital products to the Education Trust Fund; defining "digital product" as one that is obtained electronically by the buyer and delivered by certain means through the use of technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities; applying the sales and use tax to a sale or use of certain digital products; providing that the sales and use tax does not apply to a certain service; etc.  Hearing Ways & Means, 2/27

Sales and Use Tax - Rate Reduction and Services, HB 1628
(Del Luedtke) Altering the definitions of "taxable price" and "taxable service" for the purposes of certain provisions of law governing the sales and use tax to impose the tax on certain labors and services; altering the rate of the sales and use tax; altering the percentage of gross receipts from vending machine sales and from certain sales of dyed diesel fuel to which the sales and use tax is applied; altering the rate of the sales and use tax applied to certain charges made in connection with sales of alcoholic beverages; etc. Unfavorable report by House Ways & Means committee.

 

Privacy:

Commercial Law - Personal Information Protection Act – Revisions, HB 237 / SB 201
Requiring a business that maintains personal information of an individual residing in the State to implement and maintain certain security procedures and practices; altering the circumstances under which the owner or licensee of certain computerized data is required to notify certain individuals of a certain breach; altering the time periods within which certain notifications regarding the breach of a security system are required to be given; etc. Hearing 2/26 in Economic Matters. Hearing 2/12 in Finance.

Maryland Online Consumer Protection Act HB784 / SB 957
Requiring certain businesses that collect a consumer's personal information to provide certain clear and conspicuous notices to the consumer at or before the point of collection; authorizing a consumer to submit a certain request for information to a certain business that collects the consumer's personal information; requiring a certain business to comply with a certain request for information in a certain manner and within 45 days after receiving a verifiable consumer request; etc. Finance Committee hearing 2/19

Declaration of Rights- Right to Privacy, SB 664
(Sen. Lee) Proposing af401n amendment to the Maryland Constitution to establish that each individual has a natural, essential, and inherent right to privacy that guarantees freedom from government intrusion; providing that the right to privacy includes the right of an individual to live free from intrusions caused by or directly traceable to the unauthorized collection of certain data; etc. Hearing 3/11

Maryland Personal Information Protection Act – Geolocation Information and Unfair, Abusive, and Deceptive Trade Practices, HB 1389
(Del Love) Prohibiting a business from collecting, using, storing, or disclosing certain geolocation information from a certain application on a mobile device of an individual except in certain circumstances; authorizing a business to collect, use, store, or disclose certain geolocation information from a certain application on a mobile device of an individual if certain notification is provided to and consent is obtained from the individual; etc. Hearing 2/26, Economic Matters

 

Business Practices:

Consumer Protection - Automatic Recurring Payments, HB 1156

(Del. Conaway)  Requiring certain merchants that enroll consumers in certain automatic recurring payments for certain goods or services provided or sold over the Internet to include a link to a web page that allows a consumer to cancel the contract; requiring certain merchants that enroll consumers in certain automatic recurring payments for certain goods or services provided or sold over the Internet, by mail, or over the telephone to provide a consumer a certain form and present recurring automatic payment terms in a clear and conspicuous manner; etc.  Hearing 3/6 Economic Matters

 

Delaware

No bills of interest…yet.  Delaware is in recess later and will return March 17th.

 

District of Columbia

No bills of interest

 

Important Dates

  • March 16, Crossover in Maryland
  • April 6th Maryland Legislature Adjournment
  • June 30th Delaware General Assembly Adjournment

 

Issue areas:

Anti-SLAPP

Federal Overtime Rules

Open Meetings

Public Notice

Student Journalist Protections

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