E17: Equitable Access To Public Information

  • E43: Board of Ethics Decision
  • E42: Cape Gazette
  • E41: ESPN
  • E40: Investigative Editing Corps
  • E#39: Member Spotlight with MoCo360

This episode is from a webinar on access to government information that can be attained through the Public of Information Act. The panel emphasizes why requests for information should be affordable and timely. If you need a quick lesson on the Public Information Act check out last week’s episode.


Joanne Antoine, Executive director of Common Cause Maryland.

Joanne joined Common Cause Maryland in January 2017, managing state outreach and engagement for key policy campaigns, specifically around money in politics and voting rights. She now serves as Executive Director where she is responsible for creating and implementing the Maryland organization’s policy campaigns and building its capacity. Prior to joining Common Cause Maryland, Joanne worked for the Democracy Initiative where she helped engage local, state, and national organizations in the coalitions and campaigns in Maryland. She has also worked as an organizer, trainer, and strategist for numerous campaigns in the US and Haiti.

Twitter: @Joanne_Antoine

Debra Gardner, Legal Director of the Public Justice Center

Debra joined the PJC as its Legal Director in January 2000. Since then she has participated in a wide range of impact litigation and other advocacy. Among her other responsibilities at the PJC, she directs the Appellate Advocacy Project, co-founded the Race Equity Project, and participates in the Race Equity Team. She works through national and Maryland networks to advance a race equity focus and analysis in the delivery of legal services and the practice of public interest law. Before joining the PJC, Debra worked in poverty law at Maryland Legal Aid for over fifteen years, first as a staff attorney and then as the Chief Attorney of its Midwestern Maryland office in Frederick. During her time at Legal Aid, she handled impact litigation as well as a large volume of direct service litigation in housing, consumer, domestic, child advocacy, and public entitlements.

Lisa Kershner, Public Access Ombuds

Appointed by the MD Attorney General to a 4-year term, Lisa is Maryland’s first Public Access Ombudsman. Opening the Office on March 30, 2016, she was reappointed to a second term in March 2020. Lisa’s primary activity has been to help PIA requestors and responding agencies resolve PIA issues voluntarily through constructive dialogue and practical problem-solving. She  is a long-time resident of Maryland, a Maryland lawyer, and graduate of UMCP and the University of Maryland School of Law. She brings to the Ombudsman role prior experience representing requestors and custodians under the PIA and FOIA, as well as experience representing participants in many types of mediation and litigation.

Brooke Lierman, State Delegate for District 46

Delegate Lierman serves in Maryland’s House of Delegates on behalf of District 46 in Baltimore

City and was first elected in 2014. She sits on the Environment and Transportation Committee.

She is the sponsor of HB 183, Equitable Access to Government Information.

Twitter: @BrookeELierman

Cheryl Kagan, State Senator for District 17

Senator Kagan serves in Maryland’s State Senate as the Senator from Rockville and Gaithersburg, District 17.  She was a Member of the House of Delegates from 1995 to 2003, and first elected to the Maryland Senate in 2014. She is the vice-chair of the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs committee and is the sponsor of SB 244, Equitable Access to Government Information.

Twitter: @CherylKagan




About this episode


Public access to government information. The bill hearing for House bill 183 will be today February 11th at 4 pm. To access the live stream of the hearing click the second link above and scroll to today’s meeting ( via zoom or YouTube).


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Rebecca Snyder (host). NaTavia Williams (podcast intern). Original music by Ruskin Nohe-Moren.