At tonight’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider approving a letter of support for HB 584, Ethics Law- Financial Disclosure Statement by Elected Local Officials of a Municipal Corporation – Confidential Information.

Legislation enacted by the Maryland General Assembly in 2010 requires local ethics ordinances to be at least as stringent as state law. This includes a requirement for the submission of detailed financial disclosure forms, which may sometimes deter new candidates from seeking local office and influence current elected officials to decline to seek reelection.

HB 584 would make some of the information disclosed by elected officials confidential and not subject to disclosure, including some information concerning relatives of elected officials,interests in specified real property or business entities, and information concerning specified employment or indebtedness.

This issue is a priority for the Maryland Municipal League, and the First Reading of the bill will be on March 3, 2015 in the Environment and Transportation Committee.