SECRETARY OF STATE

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS

Fred L. Wineland Building, 16 Francis St., Annapolis, MD 21401

The office of Secretary of State was created by constitutional amendment in 1838 to replace the Governor's Council (Chapter 197, Acts of 1836; Chapter 84, Acts of 1837).


[photo, Wineland Building (State House in background), 16 Francis St., Annapolis, Maryland] Appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, the Secretary of State attests to the Governor's signature on public papers and documents (Const., Art. II, secs. 22-23). The office is the repository for all executive orders and proclamations and is responsible for their distribution (Code State Government Article, secs. 3-404, 3-405). The Secretary of State also maintains records of all commissions issued and appointments made by the Governor (Code State Government Article, secs. 7-101 through 7-222).

Wineland Building (State House in background), 16 Francis St., Annapolis, Maryland, March 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


With regard to elections, the Secretary of State receives petitions to bring Acts of the General Assembly to referendum, and publishes them together with constitutional amendments to be voted upon in the general elections (Const., Art. XVI; Code Election Law Article, sec. 6-205). Upon the presidential primary ballot, the Secretary may place the names of those candidates determined to be advocated generally or recognized in the media (Code Election Law Article, sec. 8-502).

Bills adopted by the General Assembly and approved by the Governor are received and assigned chapter numbers by the Secretary of State (Code State Government Article, sec. 2-1511). The Secretary also advertises and records all the Governor's pardons and commutations.

The Secretary of State chairs the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs, and the Work Group to Study Safe Harbor Policy for Youth Victims of Human Trafficking; and serves on the Governor's Executive Council, and the Board of State Canvassers.

Under the Secretary of State are three main divisions: Administration and Support Services; Charities and Legal Services; and State Documents. In addition, the Deputy Secretary of State oversees the International Division.

INTERNATIONAL DIVISION
The International Division of the Office of Secretary of State began as the Community and Governmental Relations Division. It reorganized as the Intergovernmental and International Relations Division in July 2000, as the International and Intergovernmental Division in October 2003, and by its present name early in 2004.

The Division's primary functions center on the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs, and the Maryland Sister States Program.

In international affairs, the Secretary of State represents Maryland and the Governor, and chairs the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs, which the Division staffs. Moreover, at public events, the Division represents the State of Maryland. It also informs the public about other functions of the Secretary of State, such as charitable registration and solicitation regulations, extradition, and the notary process.


ADMINISTRATION & SUPPORT SERVICES DIVISION

The Administration and Support Services Division began as Personnel Services and Operations, and reorganized as Administration and Human Resources in February 1999. It reformed as the Administration, Finance, and Human Resources Division in September 2003, and as the Support Services Division in April 2011. The Division adopted its present name in 2013.

The Division is responsible for the general administrative functions of the Secretary of State.


CHARITIES & LEGAL SERVICES DIVISION

[photo, Jeffrey Building (now Wineland Building), 16 Francis St., Annapolis, Maryland] The Charities and Legal Services Division formed in July 1, 2000 from the merger of the Charitable Organizations Division with Legal Services and Registrations. Organized in 1997, Legal Services and Registrations had been concerned with condominiums, cooperatives, disclosures, housing authorities, notaries public, special police and railroad police, time-shares, and trade and service marks. Now, the Charities and Legal Services Division oversees those functions, and regulates charitable organizations, professional solicitors, and fund-raising counsel that are required to register and file reports annually (Code Business Regulation Article, secs. 6-101 through 6-701).

Jeffrey Building (now Wineland Building), 16 Francis St., Annapolis, Maryland, June 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Under the Charities and Legal Services Division are two main sections: Charities and Notaries, and Legal Services. The Division also is responsible for the Address Confidentiality Program for Victims of Domestic Violence (Maryland Safe-at-Home), and the Human-Trafficking Address Confidentiality Program.

CHARITIES & NOTARIES
Under Charities and Notaries, the Charitable Giving Information Program provides the public with access to information about charities so that they may give wisely. The section also regulates raffles of real property by charitable organizations.

Charities and Notaries is responsible for Charities and Notaries Investigations; Charities Registration; the Maryland Charity Campaign; Notaries Public; and Professional Solicitors, Fundraising Counsel, and Public Safety Solicitor Registration.

LEGAL SERVICES

Legal Services has certain legal duties regarding Ceremonial Pen Request, Certificate of Incumbancy; Condominiums and Time-Shares; Disclosures; Executive Orders, Extraditions and Pardons, Governor's Board and Commission Appointments, Manual Signatures, Special Police and Railroad Police Commissions, and Trade and Service Marks.


DIVISION OF STATE DOCUMENTS

Fred L. Wineland Building, 16 Francis St., Annapolis, MD 21401

Within the Office of the Secretary of State, the Division of State Documents was created in 1974 (Chapter 600, Acts of 1974; Code State Government Article, secs. 7-201 through 7-222).

Appointed by the Governor, the Administrator is responsible for publication of the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), the Maryland Register, and the online versions of these publications.

CODE OF MARYLAND REGULATIONS
The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), is the permanent compilation of all State agency regulations, and the Governor's executive orders. As COMAR Online, the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) was placed on the Internet in 2000.

MARYLAND REGISTER
Issued every two weeks, the Maryland Register serves as a temporary supplement to COMAR. The Register prints all proposed, adopted and emergency regulations of the State's administrative agencies; notices of public hearings and meetings; the full text of all opinions of the Attorney General; proposed and adopted rules of court; hearing calendars of the Courts of Appeal; synopses of all legislation proposed and enacted by the General Assembly; all executive orders; all gubernatorial appointments; all opinions issued by the State Ethics Commission; and any other document the General Assembly requires or the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) permits to be published. An index to the Register is published quarterly and is cumulative throughout the year. All adopted regulations, and executive orders that are permanent in nature, periodically are taken from the pages of the Register and integrated into COMAR by means of published supplements.

With the exception of emergency regulations, administrative regulations are not effective until notice of their adoption is published in the Maryland Register. The text of any document appearing in the Maryland Register and COMAR is the only official, valid and enforceable text of that document. Any document appearing in the Maryland Register and COMAR is accorded judicial notice in all court proceedings (Code State Government Article, sec. 7-217; Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article, sec. 10-203).

The Maryland Register Online began publication in 2000.

COMAR ONLINE
MARYLAND REGISTER ONLINE

In 1984, the Maryland Information Retrieval System went on-line. The System was a computerized information retrieval service for State statutes; adopted, proposed and emergency regulations; and executive orders. It enabled persons to access information in Division databases, and also was used to compose COMAR supplement pages.

In 1999, the Maryland Contract Weekly went on the web, followed by COMAR Online, Maryland Register Online, and Maryland Contract Weekly Online in 2000. These electronic versions of the Division's mandated publications replaced the Maryland Information Retrieval System. Effective July 1, 2006, the Maryland Contract Weekly was superseded by eMaryland Marketplace, an online service of the Department of General Services.

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