The state of Maryland is considering modernizing their ethics laws, making it easier for citizens to review legislators’ contributions. A novel idea! (believe it or not, this is actually an area where Arkansas performs rather well: voters can see contributions & other financial information by searching on the Secretary of State’s website)
Senator Jamie Raskin is the author of the bill to modernize the disclosure process, but shockingly, some state Democrats are stalling.
Of course they support the idea, and they knew the bill was coming so they had plenty of time to prepare, but it seems they only have 5 days left in their session and that may not be enough time to pass the bill. After all, this is a very complicated matter, posting a few PDFs online and all. Delegate Maggie McIntosh who chairs the committee considering the bill said:
“I saw this bill coming, and I certainly support the intent of this bill, but there’s a lot to digest here. I just don’t know if we can do it in five days” when the session is scheduled to end.”
Senator Raskin’s main concern & reasoning for proposing this bill is that legislators’ financial information is not readily available to some citizens, particularly the elderly, and voters have to go to great lengths to obtain information.
“We are talking about people who are dealing with millions of dollars,” Raskin said. He said it was unreasonable to make people travel 90 minutes for information that is already public “and can easily be put online.”
The bill passed the Maryland Senate unanimously last month.