GENERAL ASSEMBLY

DEPARTMENT OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS

In 1997, the Department of Legislative Services was formed (Chapters 635 and 636, Acts of 1997). Its origins, however, trace to the formation of the Department of Legislative Reference in 1906 and the Department of Fiscal Services in 1947.


[photo, Thurgood Marshall statue at Legislative Services Building entrance, Lawyers' Mall, Annapolis, Maryland] Department of Legislative Reference. The Department of Legislative Reference was created in 1906 to serve the Baltimore City Council (Chapter 565, Acts of 1906). In 1916, that department also began assisting the General Assembly (Chapter 474, Acts of 1916). The State's portion of the Department transferred in 1965 to the Legislative Branch (Chapter 453, Acts of 1965). In 1966, the Department severed any affiliation with the City of Baltimore and established its offices in Annapolis (Chapter 571, Acts of 1966). The Department of Legislative Reference was abolished in 1997 and its functions assigned to the Department of Legislative Services (Chapters 635 and 636, Acts of 1997).

Thurgood Marshall statue at Legislative Services Building entrance, Lawyers' Mall, Annapolis, Maryland, August 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt


Department of Fiscal Services. As the Fiscal Research Bureau, the Department of Fiscal Services originated in 1947 (Chapter 605, Acts of 1947). By 1965, the Bureau was placed under the General Assembly. The Bureau reorganized in 1968 as the Department of Fiscal Services (Chapter 456, Acts of 1968). In 1997, the Department of Fiscal Services was abolished and its functions moved to the Department of Legislative Services (Chapters 635 and 636, Acts of 1997).

The Department of Legislative Services operates under the policies and directives of the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Legislative Policy Committee, and the Joint Audit Committee. The Department provides staff services to the standing committees of the Legislature and to any commissions or committees that the General Assembly or the Legislative Policy Committee may appoint. The Department also provides accounting, printing, bill distribution, telecommunication, and supply services to the General Assembly. In addition, the Department administers programs for interns, pages, and public affairs. Publications available from the Department include the nine-volume Legislative Handbook series and Your Voice in Annapolis.

Historically, the Department has conducted research and drafted legislation for members of the General Assembly. The Department also has provided legislative bills, enactments, journals, documents, records, and the codifications of State and local laws.

With professional fiscal, legal and research staff, the Department supports legislative committees, subcommittees, task forces, and commissions. For the General Assembly, the Department provides statutory revision services; conducts legal and legislative research; provides fiscal analyses; and offers specialized information services. The Department also reviews and analyzes regulations proposed by Executive Branch agencies; provides legislative and general library resource materials and information services to the General Assembly and the public; and provides computerized services for legislative purposes, including the preparation of bills, laws, journals, and other documents, as well as automated searches of the law.

The work of the Department is organized into three main areas: Legislative Audits; Legislative Information Systems; and Policy Analysis.


OFFICE OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

[photo, Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle (from Bladen St.), Annapolis, Maryland] Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401

The Executive Director directs the Department's three main offices: Legislative Audits, Legislative Information Systems, and Policy Analysis. In addition, the Executive Director oversees Finance and Administrative Services, Human Resources, and Legislative Document Management, and is assisted by the Ethics Counsel.

Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle (from Bladen St.), Annapolis, Maryland, November 1999. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


FINANCE & ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
Finance and Administrative Services formerly was under the Office of Executive Director, and transferred to Administration in September 2015.

This unit is organized into five functional teams: Budget and Financial Analysis; Communications and Facilities; Distribution Services (mail, bill & bin services); Fiscal Operations; and Procurement and Supply.

LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT
Within the Office of Executive Director, all preprinting functions in 1998 were combined with the Legislative Print Shop into one unit, Legislative Document Management. In September 2015, Legislative Document Management was placed under Administration.

For the Department of Legislative Services, the General Assembly, and other State agencies, Legislative Document Management prepares and publishes legislative materials, including bills, joint resolutions, amendments, reports, and books.

Legislative Document Management functions through six units: Document Design; Operations; the Print Shop; Production Coordination; Proofreading and Editing; and Technical Coordination.


OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE AUDITS

301 West Preston St., Room 1202, Baltimore, MD 21201

Functions of the Office of Legislative Audits began when the office of the State Auditor was established in 1902 within the Treasury Department (Chapter 257, Acts of 1902). In 1929, the office was assigned to the Division of Financial Review and Control, headed by the Comptroller of the Treasury (Chapter 226, sec. 45, Acts of 1929). When the Department of Fiscal Services formed in 1968, the Division of Audits was created within the Department (Chapter 456, Acts of 1968). In 1992, the Division of Audits reformed as the Office of Legislative Audits, which became part of the Department of Legislative Services in 1997 (Chapter 598, Acts of 1992).

At least once every three to four years, the Office of Legislative Audits conducts fiscal and compliance audits of each unit of State government unless the Legislative Auditor determines, on a case-by-case basis, that more frequent audits are required (Chapter 49, Acts of 2016). These audits include the offices of clerks of court and registers of wills, but do not cover units of the Legislative Branch. Upon direction by the General Assembly or the Joint Audit Committee, the Legislative Auditor may undertake performance or financial audits, reviews, and investigations of a State agency or program, or of a private organization that receives State funds.

At least once every six years, the Office conducts financial management audits of local school systems, and reviews the audit reports of all county and municipal governments and community colleges (Code State Government Article, secs. 2-1217 through 2-1222).


[photo, Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle (from State Circle), Annapolis, Maryland]

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION SYSTEMS

Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401

In 1981, the Office of Legislative Information Systems originated as the Office of Legislative Data Processing. It formed to coordinate computer services for the General Assembly. In 1997, the Office of Legislative Data Processing was abolished, and its functions assigned to the Office of Legislative Information Systems of the Department of Legislative Services (Chapters 635 and 636, Acts of 1997).

The Office develops and supports computer services, data processing, and information systems; operates the General Assembly's data center; and provides coordination and technical assistance to the General Assembly and the Department. The Office also provides custom legislative systems, including legislature bill drafting, bill status reports, and chamber automation for voting. Laptop computers and an integrated legislative office computing package are made available for use by members of the General Assembly in their Annapolis and district offices.

Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle (from State Circle), Annapolis, Maryland, December 2016. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


With approval of the Senate President and House Speaker, the Director of the Office is appointed by the Executive Director of the Department of Legislative Services (Code State Government Article, secs. 2-1228 through 2-1232).

ADMINISTRATIVE (SAP) TECHNICAL SERVICES
Formerly under the Office of Executive Director, Administrative Technical Services transferred to Administration in September 2015. It became part of the Office of Legislative Information Systems in September 2016.

Administrative Technical Services provides design, development, maintenence, training, and support of the SAP (systems applications & products) software system. SAP is an interactive software system for managing financial operations, human resources, and administrative operations.

MARYLAND LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION SYSTEM
Under the Office of Legislative Information Systems is the Maryland Legislative Information System (MLIS). The System constitutes the General Assembly's website. Updated daily, the System provides information about past and present legislative actions, including status of legislation, text of bills and amendments, legislative histories of bills, bill synopses, fiscal notes, and hearing schedules.

Since the 2011 Legislative Session, users have been able to access more frequent updates and maintain profiles of bills of particular interest to them. The System also sorts bills by sponsor or subject. This service is available to the public free of charge on the General Assembly's website.


[photo, Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle (view from Lawyers Mall), Annapolis, Maryland]

OFFICE OF POLICY ANALYSIS

Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401

The Office of Policy Analysis was created in 1997. It provides professional legal and fiscal staff to the major standing committees of the General Assembly, several joint statutory and special committees, several county delegations in the House of Delegates and, during the interim, several task forces and commissions. During and between sessions of the General Assembly, these staff members work directly for committee chairs while under general direction of the Office.

Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle (from Lawyers Mall), Annapolis, Maryland, August 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


The legislative budget analysts assigned by the Office provide advisory, fiscal, legal, research and administrative support to the committees in an objective, nonpartisan manner.

Within the Office are a technical support unit and three major components: Fiscal and Policy Analysis; Legislation and Committee Support; and Library and Information Services (Code State Government Article, secs. 2-1234, 2-1242).

FISCAL & POLICY ANALYSIS
Fiscal and Policy Analysis began as the Division of Budget Review and the Division of Fiscal Research under the Department of Fiscal Services. Both divisions merged in 1992 to form the Fiscal Services Unit. Under the Office of Policy Analysis, the Unit reorganized in 1997, first as Fiscal Policy Issues, and then as Fiscal and Policy Analysis.

This unit analyzes operating and capital budgets, processes budget bills, prepares fiscal notes, and provides staff support to the fiscal committees and various statutory and special committees of the General Assembly. It also collects and reports local government financial information; prepares forecasts of revenues and expenditures; undertakes management studies and program evaluations; researches and reports on fiscal policy issues, taxation, operation of governmental units and programs, and fiscal relationships of the State and local governments.

LEGISLATION & COMMITTEE SUPPORT
Legislation and Committee Support formed as Legal Policy Issues in 1997, when most functions from the Department of Legislative Reference were reassigned to it. Duties included legislative drafting, statutory revision, legal analysis and review, library and information services, and research. Legal Policy Issues was renamed Legal Matters in 1997 and adopted its present name in 1999.

For members of the General Assembly, Legislation and Committee Support gives legal opinions and advice pertinent to legislation. To inform members of the General Assembly of legal issues that may affect legislation, it periodically analyzes decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Court of Special Appeals, and opinions of the Attorney General. On behalf of the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review, Legislation and Committee Support also reviews and analyzes regulations proposed by executive branch agencies. This review helps ensure agency compliance with statutory authority, legislative intent, and public notice requirements.

Legislation and Committee Support is responsible for Bill Drafting and Amendments; and Committee Staffing.

LIBRARY & INFORMATION SERVICES
Within the Office of Policy Analysis, Library and Information Services provides legislative information to the public; and reference and research services to committees, members, and staff of the General Assembly.

Library. The Library collection of over 125,000 volumes consists of Maryland laws and related legislative and legal materials; laws and publications of other states; federal documents; and general reference materials. The Library serves as an official depository for the publications of Maryland State agencies and for all local codes published by county governments (Code Education Article, sec. 23-301; Code Local Government Article, secs. 9-102, 9-203, 9-206, 9-207, 9-307, 9-314, 9-315; Code State Government Article, sec. 2-1241); as well as by municipal governments (Code Local Government Article, secs. 4-109, 4-311, 4-312). Maryland Documents, a list of State agency publications, is issued monthly. Library materials circulate to General Assembly members, their staff, and State agencies.

Information Services. Bill status and other legislative information are provided to the public through the General Assembly website, toll-free telephone numbers, and information desks in the State House and the Legislative Services Building. Speakers, tours, and materials on the legislative process are available for constituents, visitors, and school groups.

Information Services coordinates the Department's publication program. The unit is responsible for publication of Committee Meetings and Hearing Schedule; Daily Synopsis; Maryland Clipper; indexes to bills, laws, and journals; as well as various rosters, flyers, videos, and brochures about the General Assembly and the Department.

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