State lawmakers hope new law improves spending transparency score.


Some lawmakers hope legislation passed this year will move Maryland out of the middle of the pack when it comes to government spending transparency. The fifth annual report on government spending transparency released last week by Maryland PIRG Foundation gave the Old Line State a B-, up from a C last year. Maryland, the foundation’s report said, improved its score by providing more information on the benefits of tax credits, including the state’s film tax credit.

But unlike the leading states, Maryland doesn’t allow keyword searches of its checkbook-level data, the report said.
Del. Pam Beidle, D-Linthicum, was a sponsor of SENATE BILL 644’s companion bill in the House. The legislation was signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday.
The law, which takes effect June 1, will establish a 37-member Open Data Council to promote making all government data and documents available online in searchable, machine-readable formats.
Beidle said the state still hasn’t reached full transparency, but the new law will help.
“A B- isn’t awful, but of course we want to be an A,” she said. “We want people to see where we’re spending the money. People don’t want to feel like their tax dollars are being wasted. It’s a big job, though.”
While Maryland PIRG ranked Maryland as one of 20 “advancing states,” eight “leading states” did better in providing access to otherwise unscrutinized areas of spending, the nonprofit public interest research group said.
Six states provide public access to data on the subsidy recipients of each of the states’ most important economic development programs, Maryland PIRG said. The data list the public benefits that specific companies were expected to provide and show the benefits they actually delivered.
Maryland provides this data only for some of these programs, the foundation said. >>> Read more Capital Gazette ~~>Bill Text SENATE BILL 644  SB0644



Date Chamber
Apr 8, 2014 Executive Approved by the Governor – Chapter 69
Apr 3, 2014 Senate Returned Passed
Apr 2, 2014 House Third Reading Passed (132-0) – Related Vote
Apr 1, 2014 House Second Reading Passed
Apr 1, 2014 House Favorable Report Adopted
Mar 31, 2014 House Favorable Report by Health and Government Operations
Mar 19, 2014 House Hearing 3/26 at 1:00 p.m.
Mar 18, 2014 House First Reading Health and Government Operations
Mar 17, 2014 Senate Third Reading Passed (47-0) – Related Vote
Mar 14, 2014 Senate Second Reading Passed with Amendments
Mar 14, 2014 Senate Favorable with Amendments {554839/1 Report Adopted
Mar 14, 2014 Senate Favorable with Amendments Report by Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Feb 6, 2014 Senate Hearing 3/04 at 1:00 p.m.
Feb 5, 2014 Senate Reassigned to Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Jan 30, 2014 Senate First Reading Senate Rules



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