Policy Overview:  Government Transparency

Open Meetings Act

Maryland’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) establishes that “it is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that, except in special and appropriate circumstances, public business be conducted openly and publicly, and the public be allowed to observe the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that the making of public policy involves.” To that end, OMA requires State and local public bodies to hold their meetings in a manner that is open to the public, to give the public adequate notice of those meetings and their expected content, and to make minutes and any recordings of the meetings available to the public afterward. In certain circumstances, public bodies may discuss some topics confidentially in a “closed session.” See the fact sheet to the left for more information.

Public Information Act

Maryland’s Public Information Act (PIA) establishes that “all persons are entitled to have access to information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees.” PIA establishes procedures for the request and inspection of that information subject to certain exceptions where information may or must be kept privileged and confidential for purposes of protecting individuals’ personal privacy or for other public policy reasons. Each governmental unit that maintains public records must identify a representative whom a member of the public may contact to request a public record. The Office of the Attorney General must post all such contact information on its website and in the PIA manual it publishes. See the fact sheet to the left for more information.