A bill blocking access to some information requested under the Maryland Public Information Act will be referred to a subcommittee for amendments. The bill, introduced at the request of Baltimore City, would require anyone seeking information from a state or local government agency related to a pending lawsuit, to obtain a court order.
David Ralph, chief of the city Law Department's Litigation and Claims Division, testified Feb. 27 before the House Health and Government Operations Committee that the city was overwhelmed by requests from attorneys trying to circumvent trial-discovery laws by gaining access to further information under Maryland's Public Information Act. Ralph told legislators that the bill had "nothing to do with the limitation of public information. The only thing we care about is requests that were meant to be abusive."
The Public Information Act, which became law in 1970, governs the release of state documents and provides instances in which documents cannot be released, such as where the information could compromise trade secrets or medical information.