Governor Hogan’s Science-Based Health Policies: An Information Request Experiment
Science-based policies have the awesome potential to be transparent throughout their logic, assumptions, uncertainties, and data.
Societies are evolving their relationships with science, and any branches of government should logically be able to share their work when it comes to any science-based policy — by definition. I will always support evidence-based policy over “policymaking based on ideology or ‘common sense'”. I assume everyone is doing their best with the information available. But like ethical science, representative governance requires the informed consent of the governed.
Scientific citations do not need to be included within laws or executive orders, but they at least need to be published somewhere for citizen oversight of evidence-based policies. Most laymen might still just trust their science-minded friend’s take on it, but that friend would actually have a clear understanding of the largest experiments that societies run. I have been looking for the controlled experiments which inform the most extreme new policies in Maryland.
If you too have wanted to understand the science behind your governor’s unprecedented public health policies, perhaps more voters and journalists need to demand such baselines of accountability in the new normal. I am just documenting my attempts to gather the facts which might dispel floods of misinformation…
Dear Office of the Governor:
Living most of my life in Maryland, I appreciate your tireless efforts during these unprecedented times.
Under the Maryland Public Information Act Title 4, I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records. I am requesting a list of all the studies which informed the Governor’s public health policies in response to the COVID-19 virus and pandemic. I am requesting a list of all the studies or evidence that informed the Department of Health’s recommendations to the Governor. I am also requesting a list of any studies or evidence that informed the Governor’s experts who advised him on these science-based policies.
Most specifically, I am requesting a list of public health studies that informed policies ordering “all non-essential businesses and other establishments” [close], and “requiring all persons to stay at home” outside of essential needs (Order Number 20-03-30-01). There were no health studies cited in the Governor’s Order nor its press release. Scientific citations and sources should be transparently published on/throughout coronavirus.maryland.gov. They would help clear up misinformation about the science. Are they elsewhere?
If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me if the cost will exceed $40. However, I would also like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of science-based policy. This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.
The Maryland Public Information Act requires a response to this request within 30 days. If access to the records I am requesting will take longer than this amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.
If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.
Thank you for considering my request.
I will be patient in waiting for replies, and will share any appropriate information after it’s been collected. This is a strategy I’ve developed in hopes on increasing clarity on a novel state of emergency. Perhaps it is worth remixing here and elsewhere, both to encourage and to audit evidence-based policy making.
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