An Ellicott City lawyer said yesterday that he will ask the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to consider the state's revised open-meetings law in determining whether he can sue the Howard County Board of Education for allegedly meeting in secret.
The latest development in Allen Dyer's four-year legal challenge comes after the General Assembly overrode Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto of an open-meetings bill on Tuesday - effective immediately. The Maryland Open Meetings Act now allows anyone to sue a public body for alleged violations of the law.
Dyer's suit prompted state lawmakers to seek clarification last spring of the open-meetings law after a Howard Circuit Court ruling in 2003 stated that only a person "adversely affected" by an alleged violation could take a public body to court - as called for in the law's previous language.
Dyer appealed to Maryland's Court of Special Appeals, which heard arguments in the case in May. A decision is pending, prompting Dyer to alert the panel to the override.
"Here's my argument," said Dyer. "If you have a legislation that is enacted during an active case - and a case on appeal is an active case - and that legislation is remedial, then it has an impact on that case."