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'Poorly Worded' Sign Doesn't Mean What it Says

A sign outside the House Economic Matters Committee is not meant to restrict the public's rights to audio or video record meetings, according to a lawyer for the Maryland General Assembly.

The sign outside the House Economic Matters Committee says reporters must get permission to film or tape committee proceedings.

But an attorney assigned to the Maryland General Assembly said the "poorly worded" sign, which was not outside the other five House committee meeting rooms, reflects a legal limitation and is not an attempt to circumvent the state Open Meetings Act.

"It's legal but poorly worded," said Dan Friedman, a lawyer in the Maryland Attorney General's office who is assigned as counsel to the Maryland House and Senate.

State law requires that committees hold open public meetings and allow the public to photograph, record or video the proceedings as long as the methods are unobtrusive. The state Open Meetings Act does not distinguish between the public and the news media and grants reporters no special privileges.

Friedman said members of the press, particularly photographers and television cameras, are given access to areas of the hearing room that are off limits to the general public. The sign was meant to make that process more orderly and allow committee staff the opportunity to plan for such coverage.

"This is a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction and not an illegal prior restraint," Friedman said.

I pointed out that the sign could have a chilling effect on the public who might wish to record or photograph a meeting they attend.

In 2006, Deborah Belcher was ordered by a Maryland State Police trooper to stop recording the voting session of the House Judiciary Committee as it took up the issue of a constitutional amendment that would have limited the definition of marriage to men and women. Belcher is the sister of Del. Don Dwyer.

The Open Meetings Compliance Board later found that the committee had the right to have a policy regarding the recording of meetings, but that preventing Belcher from videotaping the hearing violated the state Open Meetings Act.

It appears this issue will have a faster resolution.

Friedman said late Thursday afternoon that the poorly worded sign would be replaced in the next day or two with a more accurately worded one.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Buck Harmon February 04, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Patch is AOL Buzz...no excuses...
BadStatistics February 04, 2013 at 02:19 PM
"I want gun control but don't take my guns". I am pretty sure outlawing High Cap magazines and Assault Weapons doesn't make the President a hypocrite for firing a shotgun. Also, as long as it is legal, it wouldn't matter if he was firing an assault weapon. It's like Reagan saying smaller government is a necessity, while simultaneously adding 16,000 positions in the Federal Government.
1ke February 04, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Webcrawlers are out and about? eeewww
Buck Harmon February 04, 2013 at 02:48 PM
The real problem with the White House released photo of Obama firing a weapon is that it was very poorly photo shopped like most of his ID documents....modern shotgun shells used for skeet shooting are smokeless as well.. deceiving the public is not good, but happens regularly within the Obama administration....why would that be?
Buck Harmon February 04, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Wanna buy some weapons legally? http://www.offthegridnews.com/2013/02/04/why-you-want-a-curio-and-relic-license/
Buzz Beeler February 04, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Bad Stats, while you make a point in one area the question based on this issue of homicides by use of firearms, you have to consider the killing fields of a shotgun based on the width of the path of the pellets. That was the main reason police carried them and still do. http://survivalcache.com/survival-shotgun-6-reasons-you-need-one/ Let's not forget the Ted Bundy. Tim Micveigh, or John Gacy were effective killing machines and did not use a gun.
BadStatistics February 04, 2013 at 03:28 PM
North Hollywood Bank of America shooting. That is why we want to make assault rifles and high cap magazines illegal. It is also why the shotgun is not a viable defense for law enforcement personnel so long as assault rifles and high cap magazines are legal trade-tools for criminals and citizens whom purchase them for 'legal' reasons, but then use them for illegal purposes (shooting children for instance). With distance, the shotgun, a CQB weapon (Close Quarters Battle), is a powerful tool matching even 9mm Sub-Machine guns in projectile-rates fired. However. with distance comes decreased accuracy. Additionally, shotguns are 'less lethal' than assault rifles, whose known advantage is deeper bullet penetration and more damage to victims and especially difficult to repair exit damage on victims. Try getting shot in the leg with a shotgun pellet vs. an AK-47 FMJ round. The 2" hole in the back of your leg would probably make you reconsider your stance. Why is a weapon that does this much damage even allowed to be in a civilian's hands?
1ke February 04, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Seriously... Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Steve February 04, 2013 at 05:34 PM
ROTFLMAO Eeeewwww! From the link... "My new boots, with 6.25 inch heels - already used to hurt and humiliate one (un)lucky man. Do you like them? Would you like to lick them clean?" That's just not right Old Man......
1ke February 04, 2013 at 05:56 PM
In libel cases doesn't the accuser have the entire burden of proof? To be clear, if you said that I, a public figure, were a thief who stole from my employer, I would need to prove with a preponderance of the evidence that such was not the case in order to win my case. Is that correct?
Buzz Beeler February 04, 2013 at 06:53 PM
That is correct. I have copied all of his comments. He states I signed up for such a site which is false. You cannot libel a person by printing false information and what they do whether whether they are a public figure or not. This is what I comment on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=qVGB05ALVrs I'll forward his comments to see if he went too far this time. Hacking is a crime both at the state and federal level. Public figure or not (I am not an elected official) he printed false information.
Bryan P. Sears February 04, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Comments by user "Steve" were deleted because it promotes false or misleading information. http://towson.patch.com/terms Keep it clean and on topic, please.
BadStatistics February 04, 2013 at 08:11 PM
@ Buzz, I believe what he is referencing is the list of channels you have subscribed to. Thanks for the link - you have some interesting youtube subscriptions from last year. Quite a few naughty sites. Also, in regards to your comment on shotguns being used by police. They are used by police for Close quarters only. Their use is not because of their power and spray at a distance - instead it is for power in an up close firefight with an offender - think "stopping power". An assault weapon with a high-cap mag is a comparable weapon in no way except that it is also used by law enforcement following the North Hollywood BoA robbery - which precipitated the necessity for law enforcement officers to be more heavily armed as a result of their being severely outgunned by citizens who are able to legally obtain military grade weapons and use them for illegal purposes.
Sanchez February 04, 2013 at 08:44 PM
BadStatistics, the rifles used by Larry Eugene Phillips Jr and Emil Decebal Mătăsăreanu were converted to full auto in violation of the law. No proof exists that they bought any of them legally. Phillips was a convicted felon so he could not legally purchase or own any firearm. With all that firepower the 2 perpetrators were the only fatalities.
Steve February 05, 2013 at 04:24 AM
LOL Grandpa was getting his freak on! http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=FLc0DBR30IHcnWO2Z3MBXjdg
Steve February 05, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Well, if you really want to see the "DIY Brazilian Bikini Wax Treatment" I have a screen snapshot......
Kongo February 05, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Fun times in New Orleans, Walter "Stank" Mitty? Or just more fantasies down there in Mom's basement? ROTFLMAO
Sanchez February 05, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Steve, you said your were going to the Super Bowl, how was it? We are all dying to know if you went and if you didn't why since you stated a few times you were going. Were you lying again Steve? If you were lying about going to NO we should know so we can add that to what we read from you and realize we cannot beLIEve anything you type. If you are willing to lie about something like going on a private jet to NO and hang in the French Quarter for a few days, than nothing you type is to be believed is it?
BadStatistics February 05, 2013 at 01:10 PM
@Sanchez - I am aware that the guns were "illegally modified". But we live in a society where you can purchase a gun and magazines legally, and then "illegally modify" said gun to fire as a fully automatic weapon. Whether it was bought by the criminal himself, or his friend the non-felon who just wanted to help out. Fact is, someone bought it. Someone bought the ammo. Someone bought the drum mag. All I was pointing out is that this precipitated a sea change in law enforcement outfitting, and a shotgun is a known less-lethal option for mid-quarter combat.
Steve February 05, 2013 at 01:37 PM
LOL I did go to NOLA and hung out in the French Quarter you imbecile! FRI, SAT, SUN and came you yesterday. Now I am heading to the parade. Go Ravens!
Buck Harmon February 05, 2013 at 01:46 PM
A little defensive aren't you Steve....sure sign that you're still telling lies...while tucked up into that dunce cap...I suggest you wear the purple one to the parade, but doubt that you are really going...
Sanchez February 05, 2013 at 01:49 PM
So you were posting here while enjoying friends and the bowl in the French Quarter all day Friday and Saturday? Didn't your friends find it odd that you were on this site more than with them having a good time? You were posting from early Friday through the evening and then through Saturday all day. And you expect us to believe you?
1ke February 05, 2013 at 01:55 PM
How on earth would you know that anything Steve says about himself is a lie or the truth or an understatement? He may hold the mortgage on your house or he may be the guy who bags your groceries. I think that there are some posters here who are just plain naive and trying to catch up in a digital world.
Sanchez February 05, 2013 at 01:57 PM
"as a result of their being severely outgunned by citizens who are able to legally obtain military grade weapons and use them for illegal purposes." "I am aware that the guns were "illegally modified"" You stated they were bought legally! Now you say you knew they weren't? Huh? The ONLY people able to purchase "military grade" (a new term in this debate) firearms are those who hold a Federal Class 3 license. No one else can "legally". "Military grade"? What is that? If the Congress and the President in 1932 thought they could outright BAN the sale of full automatic "military grade" firearms, why did they not ban the sale? they knew it would violate the Constitution therefore they created a license scheme. Just as they will not ban the sale of semi automatic firearms.
Sanchez February 05, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Very little truth coming from that basement compound. He has proven that over and over.
BadStatistics February 05, 2013 at 02:54 PM
@ Sanchez, I stated the guns were purchased legally - and that they were military grade weapons (aka assault rifles). I was also aware that they were illegally modified to be fired fully automatic (Illegal Modification), By Military Grade I mean an assault rifle as defined by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which expired in 2004.
Sanchez February 05, 2013 at 03:30 PM
"I stated the guns were purchased legally -" There is no evidence they were purchases legally! None!
Steve February 05, 2013 at 08:14 PM
When you are herding cats in general and female ones in particular you spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting by the pool.......waiting in the lobby....
FIFA February 05, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Did our resident Executive Administrative Assistant prepare that sign? Appears accidentally typed "Reporters" instead of "darlings"? Weird?
Kongo February 06, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Why limit the imagination of the Stanker to just one, Ike? I'm sure Walter "Stank" Mitty has been the banker to you, me, and Hussein Obama at one time or another. I'll bet he's even been the bag lady down the street. All from the comfort of Mom's basement. ROTFLMAO

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