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1967 Constitutional Convention

Governor J. Millard Tawes appointed a twenty-seven member Constitutional Convention Commission on 16 June 1965 to study the existing constitution "to ascertain if modification or revision was necessary, whether a constitutional convention should be held, and to prepare specific recommendations with respect to such revision, and the holding of a constitutional convention." The commission was divided into ten committees, including convention procedures, elective franchise, finance and taxation, local legislation, and the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The commission and its committees prepared the specific recommendations requested by the governor and incorporated them into a draft constitution. The commission held its last formal meeting in December 1966, published its interim report on 26 May 1967 and its final report on 25 August 1967, and then disbanded. Acting on the recommendations of the commission that the present constitution required revision and that a convention should be called, the General Assembly enacted legislation to that effect in 1966 (Chapter 500, Acts of 1966). In a referendum held on 13 September 1966 to determine whether Marylanders wanted a convention, the electorate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a convention. The General Assembly then passed a second law to provide for apportionment and election of delegates (Chapter 4, Acts of 1967). Delegates to the convention were apportioned as for the House of Delegates, elected 13 June 1967, and convened on 12 September 1967. The standing rules of the convention called for election of officers and eight substantive and three procedural committees. The president of the convention appointed committee members and their chairpersons, with each delegate receiving a committee assignment. The 1967 law provided that the convention session continue as long as necessary but not later than 12 December. A majority of the delegates, however, could, and did, vote to extend the session up to a month beyond the legislated end-date. The convention held its last meeting on 10 January 1968, when it signed the proposed constitution. In a referendum held on 14 May 1968, the constitution failed ratification.


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