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open meetings act amendments effective TODAY

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  • Allen Dyer
    from the attorney general s office-- allen dyer ______________________________________________________ During its past session, the Legislature made two
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 1, 2004
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      from the attorney general's office--

      allen dyer

      ______________________________________________________

      During its past session, the Legislature made two significant changes to the Open Meetings Act that
      take effect October 1, 2004. The changes expand both the application of the Act and its record
      retention requirements.

      Record Retention

      The Open Meetings Act has long required that a public body retain copies of the minutes for
      meetings that are subject to the Act for at least one year. This requirement applies to public
      meetings as well as meetings closed to the public under provisions of the Act. SG §10-509(c)(3)(ii).
      If a closed meeting is recorded, the public body also is required to keep a copy of the tape for at
      least one year. Id.

      Effective October 1, 2004, the Act's record retention requirements are expanded to cover additional
      records. See Chapter 440, Laws of Maryland 2004. A public body will be required to keep a copy of
      its notice of a meeting and any written statement prepared in advance of a closed session for at
      least one year. If a public meeting is recorded, the one-year retention requirement extends to
      these tapes as well. SG §§ 10-506(d), 10-508(d)(5), and 10-509(e) (as amended by Chapter 440).

      If a complaint is filed with the Open Meetings Compliance Board, the public body is required to
      provide a copy of any record regulated under the Act to the Compliance Board at the Compliance Board
      's request. The Compliance Board is required to maintain the confidentiality of minutes or any
      recording of a closed session if the record is sealed under provisions of the Act. SG
      §10-502.5(c)(2) (as amended by Chapter 440).

      Public Body

      In addition to government entities created pursuant to any legal instrument listed in SG §
      10-502(h)(1), the current definition of "public body" includes an entity established less formally,
      either by the Governor or the chief executive of a political subdivision, if the entity includes at
      least two individuals who are not employed by the State or political subdivision. SG §10-502(h)(2).
      However, the latter definition did not extend to bodies such as advisory panels informally
      established by the heads of executive branch agencies.

      The 2004 legislation expanded the definition of "public body" to encompass such entities.
      Effective October 1st, the definition includes "any multmember board, commission, or committee
      appointed by the Governor or the chief executive authority of a political subdivision of the state,
      OR APPOINTED BY AN OFFICIAL WHO IS SUBJECT TO THE POLICY DIRECTION OF THE GOVERNOR OR CHIEF
      EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY OF THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, if the entity includes in its membership at least
      2 individuals not employed by the state or the political subdivision." §10-502(h)(2)(i) (as amended
      by Chapter 440).
    • bobrosebrough21045
      5 cost-cutting, life-saving tips OK, those are the short-term strategies for containing costs. But the best ways to save on auto insurance in the long run are
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 2, 2004
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        5 cost-cutting, life-saving tips

        OK, those are the short-term strategies for containing costs. But
        the best ways to save on auto insurance in the long run are also the
        best ways to ensure your teen-ager stays alive. Well before your kid
        gets her license, you should be thinking about ways to reduce future
        accidents. These ways include:
        Insist on more supervised driving. Many states have adopted so-
        called "graduated license requirements" that ease teenagers into
        driving privileges over several months -- an approach that seems to
        be reducing accidents and fatalities in those states. (You can see a
        list of states and their restrictions here. At least 14 states,
        including California, Florida, Ohio and Washington, now require
        teens to have at least 50 hours of supervised instruction, and many
        require 10 of those hours to be at night. Even if your state doesn't
        require as many hours of instruction or curbs on night driving, you
        should.


        Restrict nighttime driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway
        Safety found that 41% of fatal accidents involving teen-age drivers
        occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The risk of drunken-driving
        fatalities also soars at night. Insurance research firm Quality
        Planning Corp. found the drunken-driving death rate was 200 times
        greater at 1 a.m. Sunday morning than at 10 a.m. on the same day.


        Limit passengers. The fatality risk seems to escalate with the
        number of people in the car, particularly if those passengers are
        male. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
        found the death rate for drivers, male or female, nearly doubled
        when one male passenger was in the car and more than doubled if two
        or more males were in the car. Young drivers in packed cars face the
        worst odds. The JAMA study showed 16-year-old drivers suffered 5.61
        deaths per 10 million trips when carrying three or more passengers.
        That compares to a death rate of 0.47 per 10 million trips when the
        driver of the four-person vehicle is aged 30 to 59.


        Limit other distractions. You may be able to get away with yakking
        on a cell phone or cranking the tunes simply because you're a more
        experienced driver (or just lucky). But it's a good idea to ban cell
        phone use while the car is in motion (and since you're the role
        model, that ban should hold for you, as well, at least when the kids
        are watching.) As for the stereo, you can simply remove it from the
        car temporarily, as James Winfield, CEO of driver education site
        DriveHomeSafe.com, did when his boys were learning to drive. Or you
        can make rules about not using the sound system during the first few
        months of driving.


        Zero tolerance. Young drivers who violate the restrictions in
        graduated-requirement states or who have an accident or ticket often
        lose their driving privileges entirely and have to start over at the
        beginning. Some infractions, like drinking and driving, are
        considered so serious that a young driver may not get an
        unrestricted license for a year or more. Consider adopting a similar
        tough-love policy with your kids.
      • cynthia vaillancourt
        We used to live in Ohio and can say that the licensing procedure there is amazingly effective in a lot of ways. In addition to the points brought up in Bob s
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 2, 2004
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          We used to live in Ohio and can say that the licensing procedure there is amazingly effective in a lot of ways. In addition to the points brought up in Bob's article - Ohio pretty much holds that coveted license over kids' heads in many other ways.

          My neice, a budding jeuvenile delinquent, had her license revoked until her 18th birthday because when she was pulled over for some minor violation, (curfew, I think) the officer discovered that her underage passengers were intoxicated. I believe the drunk kids also had their licenses suspended for underage drinking - it may have been done as an agreement with the parents to avoid the underage drinking charge. In any event, none of them was allowed to drive at all for many months.

          They also lose their driving privileges if they drop out of high school or are convicted of truancy. It's a very effective tool to motivate teen students/drivers.

          It has been very effective in keeping the most at risk segment of this population alive. That car load of drunk teenagers in my neices car were statistically lucky that a cop pulled them over and that they didn't wrap themselves around a tree.

          Even though she was not drinking, she and her carload were a very high risk group. And, I'm happy to say, they are all alive today, three years later. I really wonder what the story would have been if she had not lost her license during that high risk period.

          The connections between deadly accidents and other irresponsible behaviors cannot be understated - though, of course, responsible teens with good grades can also kill themselves in the middle of the day, there is no perfect safety plan.

          It is easier for the parents to take a hard position when it is the law.. but as Bob says, even if it isn't the law, tough restrictions can keep these kids safe.

          Cindy V

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: bobrosebrough21045
          Sent: Saturday, October 02, 2004 6:05 PM
          To: howardpubliced@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [howardpubliced] From MSN money on teen drivers



          5 cost-cutting, life-saving tips

          OK, those are the short-term strategies for containing costs. But
          the best ways to save on auto insurance in the long run are also the
          best ways to ensure your teen-ager stays alive. Well before your kid
          gets her license, you should be thinking about ways to reduce future
          accidents. These ways include:
          Insist on more supervised driving. Many states have adopted so-
          called "graduated license requirements" that ease teenagers into
          driving privileges over several months -- an approach that seems to
          be reducing accidents and fatalities in those states. (You can see a
          list of states and their restrictions here. At least 14 states,
          including California, Florida, Ohio and Washington, now require
          teens to have at least 50 hours of supervised instruction, and many
          require 10 of those hours to be at night. Even if your state doesn't
          require as many hours of instruction or curbs on night driving, you
          should.


          Restrict nighttime driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway
          Safety found that 41% of fatal accidents involving teen-age drivers
          occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The risk of drunken-driving
          fatalities also soars at night. Insurance research firm Quality
          Planning Corp. found the drunken-driving death rate was 200 times
          greater at 1 a.m. Sunday morning than at 10 a.m. on the same day.


          Limit passengers. The fatality risk seems to escalate with the
          number of people in the car, particularly if those passengers are
          male. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
          found the death rate for drivers, male or female, nearly doubled
          when one male passenger was in the car and more than doubled if two
          or more males were in the car. Young drivers in packed cars face the
          worst odds. The JAMA study showed 16-year-old drivers suffered 5.61
          deaths per 10 million trips when carrying three or more passengers.
          That compares to a death rate of 0.47 per 10 million trips when the
          driver of the four-person vehicle is aged 30 to 59.


          Limit other distractions. You may be able to get away with yakking
          on a cell phone or cranking the tunes simply because you're a more
          experienced driver (or just lucky). But it's a good idea to ban cell
          phone use while the car is in motion (and since you're the role
          model, that ban should hold for you, as well, at least when the kids
          are watching.) As for the stereo, you can simply remove it from the
          car temporarily, as James Winfield, CEO of driver education site
          DriveHomeSafe.com, did when his boys were learning to drive. Or you
          can make rules about not using the sound system during the first few
          months of driving.


          Zero tolerance. Young drivers who violate the restrictions in
          graduated-requirement states or who have an accident or ticket often
          lose their driving privileges entirely and have to start over at the
          beginning. Some infractions, like drinking and driving, are
          considered so serious that a young driver may not get an
          unrestricted license for a year or more. Consider adopting a similar
          tough-love policy with your kids.






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