Lutherville, Md. (March 3, 2003) -- A Maryland bill that would have foisted parts of the federal Sarbanes-Oxley law regarding public company audits was defeated in a committee within the state's Senate, according to the Maryland Association of CPAs.

Maryland is the third state where Sarbanes-Oxley style legislation has been thwarted after lobbying and education efforts by state accounting forces. Maryland Association of CPAs chief executive Thomas Hood attributed the defeat of Maryland's bill to an effort that included testimony by his association's members and the drafting of an association white paper. That paper noted potential problems for business overall in Maryland by trying to foist Sarbanes-Oxley rules for pubic company audits on the work accountants do for smaller privately-held companies.

"It is just plain unnecessary and premature," Hood said in an e-mail message announcing the bill's defeat. The proposal, as stated, applies only to public companies in the state, but Hood said that, if it had made it further in the legislative process, there was a potential for a "cascade:" that could have extended the bill's interpretation to privately-held companies.

A Sarbanes-Oxley style state bill in Arizona failed to make it to legislative committee earlier this year and six bills introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature last year have failed to make it to committee. There are at least nine other states where Sarbanes-Oxley type of bills have been proposed since the federal law was enacted last summer.

-- John M. Covaleski

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