State Public Records Law

Public Information Act (2008)

Public Information Act Description, Maryland Attorney General»

Annotated Code of Maryland State Government
§10-611 et seq.

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Exemptions to Disclosure

  • Work product
  • Inter-and intra-office memoranda
  • Inventions owned by State public institution of higher education [unless already published; already licensed or disclosed in writing to institution for at least 4 years]
  • Confidential info
  • Trade secrets
  • Site-specific locations of certain plants, animals, or property
  • “(d)(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, a custodian may deny inspection of a public record that contains the specific details of a research project that an institution of the State or of a political subdivision is conducting. (2) A custodian may not deny inspection of the part of a public record that gives only the name, title, expenditures, and date when the final project summary will be available,” and “(h)(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, a custodian may deny inspection of that part of a public record that contains information disclosing or relating to an invention owned in whole or in part by a State public institution of higher education for 4 years to permit the institution to evaluate whether to patent or market the invention and pursue economic development and licensing opportunities related to the invention.” Maryland Statute 10-618-D, H
  • Confidential information owned by a public institution of higher education in collaboration with the private sector if the information is part of a collaborative research and development project, part of a commercial application of institution-owned intellectual property, or part of a provision for technical assistance.
  • Any research, analysis, or plans compiled by or for the University of Maryland University College relating to its operations or proposed operations.
  • A proposal generated, received, or negotiated by the University of Maryland University College, other than with its students, for the provision of education services.

Access Rights

  • All persons
  • At any reasonable time
  • Reasonable rules may be adopted by each custodian to govern timely production and inspection of a public record, to prevent unnecessary interference w/ official business and to protect public records
  • Records immediately available to any requestor may be designated and a list of such records maintained
  • Must be written request, unless record is listed in list maintained by custodian as available immediately upon request
  • Recipient of request, if not custodian, must notify and direct requestor to appropriate custodian w/in 10 working days of receipt of request
  • Must notify requestor of inexistence of record no more than 30 working days after request
  • Denial of access within 10 working days; include written statement giving reasons and legal authority for denial and notice of remedies for review of denial; allow inspection of any part of the record that is subject to inspection and is reasonably severable
  • Any time limit imposed above may be extended up to 30 days with consent of requestor
  • Access cannot be conditioned on identity or disclosure of purpose of request, unless requestor volunteers this info for custodian to consider in decision of whether grant of access would be contrary to public interest [4-343]
  • Fees may be waived upon request if custodian determines waiver would be in public interest
  • No fee for first 2 hours needed to search for record and prepare for inspection
  • Any reasonable fee for reproduction of record, including cost of providing facilities for reproduction, if custodian lacks such facilities [“reasonable fee” = bearing reasonable relationship to the recovery of actual costs incurred by governmental unit]
  • Public records in electronic format only if available and if such format is specifically requested

Destruction of Public Records

  • Must offer records to the State Archivist rather than destroy, in accordance with record retention and disposal schedules
  • If Archivist declines to accept the record, agency can destroy it with written approval of Archivist
  • After disposal, must send to Archivist list of records destroyed and certificate of destruction – list will be kept by Archivist and will be available for public inspection at reasonable times. Annotated Code of Maryland State Government Article 10 § 631-634

State Whistleblower Score

Rank: 5/51 States & DC

Maryland’s statute has fairly broad coverage (20 out of 33 possible points) with a very good degree of usability (29 out of 33) and average remedies (24 out of 33), plus the one bonus point awarded for employee notification of rights. 

Read the full assessment here»

What’s New in Maryland?

Off-the-Charts PFAS in Maryland Biosolid Fertilizers

Laboratory testing of biosolid fertilizers sold in Maryland has confirmed ultra-high levels of toxic per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS from biosolids, such ast those used in Bloom fertilizers, migrate to surface water and groundwater. They are also taken up by plants and ingested by humans and livestock. PFAS in biosolid fertilizers have led to shutdowns of dairies, ranches, and other farming operations in states from Maine to New Mexico.

Learn More»

Maryland Activity

New Analysis Shows Maryland Is Wasting Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Subsidizing Trash Incineration

Classification of Trash Incineration as “Renewable” Hurts the Climate and Consumers

REPORT | Maryland’s Energy Subsidies Are Going Up in Flames

The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2024 would eliminate trash incineration from Maryland’s Renewable Energy ...

Maryland Should Lift Curtain on Its Renewable Portfolio

Past Reports Cloak Dirty Energy Subsidies and Assessment of Actual Impacts

COMMENTARY | Conowingo: A Better Deal Coming for the Chesapeake Bay

In a major victory for waterman and environmental groups, courts have vacated the licensing for Maryland's Conowingo Dam.

Off-the-Charts PFAS in Maryland Biosolid Fertilizers

Call for Montgomery County Ban on Biosolids to Stem Water Contamination

COMMENTARY | Building Better Climate Solutions

To address climate change we must move faster to clean energy sources, reduce energy consumption, and conserve ...

COMMENTARY | How Maryland’s Renewable Energy Law Hurts Maryland

In Maryland, "clean renewable energy" may include burning fossil fuels, trash, wood or other waste to produce ...

Maryland Renewable Energy Program’s Dirty Rip-Off

MD Ratepayers Subsidize Polluting Energy at Premium Prices

REPORT | Maryland Clean Energy Report 2022 (PDF)

PEER is calling on Maryland leadership to get dirty energy sources out of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

COMMENTARY | PEER works with Lawmakers to Fight Conowingo License

PEER continues to work to compel Exelon Corp., owners of the Conowingo Dam, to clean it up and mitigate the ...

COMMENTARY | Climate Integrity Project Targets False Solutions

PEER is launching a Climate Integrity Project to address bogus offsets, keeping clean energy clean and ...

VIDEO | Conowingo Dam: Last Chance for a Fair Deal

Waterkeepers on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland are working to hold Exelon accountable for its fair share of the ...

Letter to Maryland Dept of Agriculture and Environments – PFAS in mosquito control – 03/24/2021 (PDF)

DESCRIPTION: Letter to inform Maryland Department of Agriculture and Maryland Department of the Environment about ...

Letter to Michael Regan – PFAS in mosquito control – 03/24/2021 (PDF)

DESCRIPTION: Letter to inform EPA about the presence of PFAS in the pesticide Permanone 30-30 used by Maryland and ...

Maryland Clean Energy Program Has Big Dirty Component  

Consumers Paying More for High-Polluting Renewables “Dressed in Green”  

Maryland Renewable Energy Report

A large and growing portion of Maryland’s renewable “clean energy” comes from high-polluting energy sources.

Dirty Recs Foul Renewable Energy in Maryland

Incineration and other dirty fuels dressed up and sold as “green” to consumers


Appointment as Riverdale Park Police Chief Will Not Alter Legal Case
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