Maryland Public Information Act
Maryland’s Public Information Act (“MPIA”), Title 4 of the General Provisions Article grants the public a broad right of access to records that are in the possession of State and local government agencies. It has been a part of the Annotated Code of Maryland since its enactment as Chapter 698 of the Laws of Maryland 1970 and is similar in purpose to the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Maryland Code, General Provisions Article, Title 4 – the Maryland Public Information Act (“MPIA”) – requires public agencies, including the ERS, to allow all persons to have access to information about the affairs of government and the acts of its public officials and employees, subject to certain exemptions and exceptions.
How do I submit a Maryland Public Information Act request?
Requests will be processed during normal business hours.
What information should be included in my request?
Clearly state that you are requesting documents under the MPIA. Provide your name and mailing address. (Include a daytime telephone number is also advisable in case staff needs to contact you for additional information.) Describe the records* you are requesting. Please be as specific as possible. Include information such as the type of record and date(s) the record may have been created, presented, or released.
*All requests must be for existing records. The MPIA does not require public agencies to create new records.
Is there a fee for submitting a request?
The MPIA provides requestors with two (2) free hours of staff research and preparation time. Requests that take more than two hours will require payment of a reasonable fee.
Under GP § 4-206(e), the official custodian may waive any fee or cost assessed under the PIA if the applicant asks for a waiver and if the applicant is indigent, as that term is defined under the Act. An applicant is considered indigent for purposes of the Act if his or her family household income is less than 50% of the median family income for the state, as reported in the Federal Register. GP § 4-206(a)(2). To obtain a waiver on this basis, the applicant must submit an affidavit of indigency. GP § 4-206(e)(2).
A completed Affidavit of Indigency form may be submitted as an attachment along with your request.
Who do I contact for more information?
The ERS has an assigned MPIA Coordinator, Alicia C. Stanford, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.