Maryland Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler on Wednesday proposed the state strengthen public transparency laws and make it easier for taxpayers to hold the government accountable.
He suggested creating a "Public Information Inspector General" whose sole job would be ensuring the public has quick and effective access to government data and records, one of six ideas Gansler announced during an Annapolis campaign event.
The proposed public information czar would have authority to audit state agencies and set state-wide policy on how and when to release data, spending information and other records to the public, as well as resolve public complaints about barriers to accessing government records.
Gansler, a two-term Democrat, also suggested creating new web-based tools to access government spending and contracts, tighten open-meetings laws to include some meetings currently closed to the public and giving grants to local governments to increase transparency.
Some of Gansler's proposals require the Maryland General Assembly to pass new laws.
The transparency changes were announced during Gansler's third "issue and ideas" forum he has held across the state this summer as he builds a platform for his gubernatorial campaign. Earlier events discussed domestic violence prevention and ways to increase Maryland's manufacturing sector.
Gansler plans to wait until the fall to formally launch his campaign to succeed term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley, also a Democrat.
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