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Statutes Text

Article - General Provisions




§4–1B–04.    IN EFFECT

    (a)    Subject to subsection (b) of this section, the Ombudsman shall make reasonable attempts to resolve disputes between applicants and custodians relating to requests for public records under this title, including disputes over:

        (1)    the custodian’s application of an exemption;

        (2)    redactions of information in the public record;

        (3)    the failure of the custodian to produce a public record in a timely manner or to disclose all records relevant to the request;

        (4)    overly broad requests for public records;

        (5)    the amount of time a custodian needs, given available staff and resources, to produce public records;

        (6)    a request for or denial of a fee waiver under § 4–206(e) of this title; and

        (7)    repetitive or redundant requests from an applicant.

    (b)    (1)    When resolving disputes under this section, the Ombudsman may not:

            (i)    compel a custodian to disclose public records or redacted information in the custodian’s physical custody to the Ombudsman or an applicant; or

            (ii)    except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, disclose information received from an applicant or custodian without written consent from the applicant and custodian.

        (2)    The Ombudsman may disclose information received from an applicant or custodian to the assistant Attorney General assigned to the Office of the Ombudsman.

§4–1B–04.    ** TAKES EFFECT JULY 1, 2022 PER CHAPTER 658 OF 2021 **

    (a)    Subject to subsection (d) of this section, the Ombudsman shall make reasonable attempts to resolve disputes between applicants and custodians relating to requests for public records under this title, including disputes over:

        (1)    the custodian’s application of an exemption;

        (2)    redactions of information in the public record;

        (3)    the failure of the custodian to produce a public record in a timely manner or to disclose all records relevant to the request;

        (4)    overly broad requests for public records;

        (5)    the amount of time a custodian needs, given available staff and resources, to produce public records;

        (6)    a request for or denial of a fee waiver under § 4–206(e) of this title;

        (7)    repetitive or redundant requests from an applicant;

        (8)    fees imposed under § 4–206 of this title; and

        (9)    a request or pattern of requests from an applicant that is alleged to be frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith.

    (b)    Within 90 calendar days after receiving a request for dispute resolution, unless the parties mutually agree to extend the deadline, the Ombudsman shall issue a final determination stating:

        (1)    that the dispute has been resolved; or

        (2)    that the dispute has not been resolved.

    (c)    If the Ombudsman issues a final determination stating that the dispute has not been resolved, the Ombudsman shall inform the applicant and the custodian of the availability of review by the Board under § 4–1A–04 of this title.

    (d)    (1)    When resolving disputes under this section, the Ombudsman may not:

            (i)    compel a custodian to disclose public records or redacted information in the custodian’s physical custody to the Ombudsman or an applicant; or

            (ii)    except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, disclose information received from an applicant or custodian without written consent from the applicant and custodian.

        (2)    (i)    The Ombudsman may disclose information received from an applicant or custodian to the assistant Attorney General assigned to the Office of the Public Access Ombudsman or to any other person working under the direction of the Ombudsman.

            (ii)    An individual to whom the Ombudsman discloses information under this paragraph may not disclose the information without written consent from the applicant and custodian.

        (3)    The Ombudsman may transfer basic information about a dispute, including the identity of the applicant and custodian and the nature of the dispute, to the Board if appropriate steps have been taken to protect the confidentiality of communications made or received in the course of attempting to resolve the dispute.



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