Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Stop the assault on our Maryland Public Infomation Act

Our county delegation to Annapolis is currently working to limit the Maryland Public Information Act. They late-filed a bill, hoping you wouldn't find out about it. Here at Parents' Coalition we rely on this act to get the information the county wants hidden.  Information on dangerous radon in our schools. Information on cover-ups of pedophilia in our schools. Information on cell towers. Dangers of artificial turf.

Here is a draft letter you can send to your delegates. Contact information is here.

Subject line:  OPPOSE HB 677 (Emergency Bill), entitled “Public Information Act – Required Denials – Physical Addresses, E–Mail Addresses, and Telephone Numbers”
Dear Delegate <NAME>,

I urge you to oppose HB 677 (Emergency Bill), entitled “Public Information Act – Required Denials – Physical Addresses, E–Mail Addresses, and Telephone Numbers” -- but which more accurately should be called the “Special Interest and Incumbent Protection Act.”

Currently, some Montgomery County elected officials use taxpayer resources to collect email addresses and then send newsletters  via email to many thousands of constituents -- ostensibly to inform constituents, but with the effect of using taxpayer resources to solidify their incumbency.
Wealthy special interests can also communicate with voters by paying large sums to data mining companies for contact information lists.  One such wealthy special interest reportedly has contact information for hundreds of thousands of Montgomery County residents.

If the bill is passed, only the following will have the capacity to reach large numbers of potential voters:
  • Incumbents using email lists developed with taxpayer funds;
  • Wealthy special interests who use their wealth to buy contact information lists from private vendors.
Who is left out: "We, the People” -- whose tax dollars were used by elected officials to create the email lists.

The proposed bill bars voter groups from accessing the email addresses that the voters paid for with their tax dollars.  Given that there is not a single daily newspaper that focuses on Montgomery County and holds elected officials accountable, it is essential for voter groups/constituents to be able to communicate with large numbers of voters/constituents via the same mechanisms as their elected officials -- and to be able to obtain those taxpayer-funded email lists under Maryland’s Public Information Act.

If this bill is passed, only special interests and incumbents -- some of whom take large campaign contributions from special interests -- will have the power to communicate with voters ... and "We, the People" -- voter groups -- will have no power to reach many voters.
For these reasons, I urge you to reject HB 677, which we call the “Special Interest and Incumbent Protection Act."

1 comment:

  1. MoCo elected officials go into hibernation shortly after they are elected and surface again around reelection time.


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