[photo, State House, Annapolis, Maryland] Prior to the creation of the position of Lieutenant Governor, Maryland made provision for an acting governor. In 1809, the Maryland Constitution of 1776 was amended to allow the first named of the Governor's Council to "act as a Governor, until the next meeting of the General Assembly" at which meeting a new governor would be chosen (Chapter 16, Acts of 1809, ratified 1809). Authorization for the Council was abolished in 1836, along with provision for an acting governor (Chapter 197, Acts of 1836, ratified 1837). At that time, in case of vacancy in the office of Governor, the Secretary of State ". . . shall be clothed, as interim, with the Executive powers of government." Moreover, at such a time if there was no Secretary of State, then the Senate President would hold such temporary power, or in the Senate President's absence, it would fall to the House Speaker.

State House, Annapolis, Maryland, April 2005. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

In Maryland, the office of Lieutenant Governor originally was created by the Constitution of 1864 and functioned from 1865 to 1868 (Constitution of 1864, Art. II, secs. 6-10). The office was reestablished in 1970 by Constitutional amendment (Chapter 532, Acts of 1970, ratified Nov. 3, 1970).

The Lieutenant Governor performs duties delegated by the Governor (Const., Art. II, secs. 1, 1A, 2). In the event of a vacancy in the office of Governor, the Lieutenant Governor succeeds to that office. The Lieutenant Governor also serves as acting governor when notified in writing by the Governor that the Governor will be temporarily unable to perform the duties of office (Const., Art. II, secs. 4, 5, 6).

The Lieutenant Governor chairs the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council, and the Governor's Economic Development and Job Creation Fast-Track-Initiative Coordinating Committee, and co-chairs the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council. The Lieutenant Governor also serves on the Governor's Executive Council; the Governor's Subcabinet for International Affairs; the Governor's Family Violence Council, and the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission.

As the second-ranking officer of the State, the Lieutenant Governor is chosen for a four-year term by popular vote at the same election at which the Governor is elected. The Lieutenant Governor's term of office begins on the third Wednesday in January following election. Eligibility requirements for Lieutenant Governor are the same as those for the Governor.

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