Democrats accuse Hogan commission of illegally hiding meetings | WYPR

Democrats accuse Hogan commission of illegally hiding meetings

Oct 26, 2017

Supporters of the now-vetoed paid leave bill hold a press conference in Baltimore's Highlandtown neighborhood in May.
Credit Rachel Baye

When Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill requiring businesses to offer paid leave in May, he also signed an executive order creating a commission to study the issue and recommend a revised paid leave law.

Now the state Democratic Party is accusing the commission of keeping its meetings secret, violating state law and preventing the public from weighing in. On Thursday, party Chair Kathleen Matthews filed a complaint with the Maryland Open Meeting Compliance Board about the commission’s lack of publicized meeting dates and agendas.

The secrecy keeps people who disagree with the governor out of the conversation, said Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat who sponsored the vetoed bill.

But as a committee of the governor’s cabinet, the commission isn’t required to hold open meetings, said Doug Mayer, spokesman for Hogan. He said the commission has been meeting one-on-one with business owners and employees to make sure people feel comfortable being honest.

“People feel threatened to talk about it,” he said. “People feel scared that they’re going to be ostracized.”

The commission is expected to release its findings in December.