clear space clear space clear space white space
 r c h i v e s   o f   M a r y l a n d   O n l i n e

PLEASE NOTE: The searchable text below was computer generated and may contain typographical errors. Numerical typos are particularly troubling. Click “View pdf” to see the original document.

  Maryland State Archives | Index | Help | Search
search for:
clear space
white space
Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 464   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
clear space clear space clear space white space
DELEGATE JAMES: I recognize in so-
ciety it is necessary to be governed by ma-
chines. Is this charged against my time,
fixing tape?
THE CHAIRMAN: No. You are on un-
controlled time right now, anyhow.
Delegate James.
DELEGATE JAMES: Simply to repeat;
the present House of 142 involves an organ-
ization of two major committees, 35 each,
and eight minor committees, so that less
than half of the membership has a major
committee assignment, and it has all of
the same defects of the old House in which
I served.
As a general comment, I would like to
say that the larger the legislative body, the
more concentrated the legislative power is
in the leadership.
The larger the legislative body, the more
limited is debate. The motion for the previ-
ous question always hovers in the back-
ground, and time limits on debate become
absolutely necessary.
I think the House of Representatives in
Washington is an extreme example of this.
It is not a debating body. It may be a
representative body, but the operation of
the House is tightly controlled by the lead-
The proposed House of 80 members as
provided in the amendment has many ad-
vantages. It has advantages to the mem-
bership of better salaries. It has the ad-
vantage to the public of attracting the
worthy candidates because of the improved
political importance and the dignity of the
All of the arguments made for unicam-
eralism in this area apply to the reduced
size of the House.
I might say in connection with getting
better candidates, you can worry the rest
of the time about the structure of the
House, but if you do not have qualified
candidates, you just simply do not have
Ninety per cent of the operation of any
legislative body is the quality of the candi-
With reference to the procedure, the
committee structure could certainly be im-
proved in an 80-man house. You could re-
organize your House committees along the
lines of the Senate, with three or four
major committees. If this were done, co-
operation by the use of joint committees
could be improved enormously. We have
been discussing that recently. You saw the
recommendations made in the Eagleton Re-
One of the conclusions we reached Mon-
day night was that the House committee
structure would have to be reorganized in
order to achieve the type of joint committee
cooperation, especially in interim studies,
necessary to implement those recommenda-
Committee assignments would certainly
be improved. You would have every mem-
ber of your House an important political
figure who would be serving on an impor-
tant committee. If a man does not have
an important committee assignment, he is
not a full legislator. He does not have full
legislative power.
Every member is entitled to respect, and
his constituents are entitled to respect in
the General Assembly. The staffing of the
committee could be simplified. One of the
problems of the state legislature is the
provision of competent, full-time, well-paid
staffs. This could be done with a simpli-
fied committee structure.
Internal organization could be improved
generally. The atmosphere of freedom of
debate could be established, an atmosphere
which would be more cordial.
The facilities and staffing for the indi-
vidual membership could be simplified.
There is quite a bit of difference between
providing staffing for the members them-
selves in an 80-member House, than for a
142 man house.
Now, with reference to bicameralism, we
would have a single member district repre-
senting approximately 50,000 people at the
next census, and there would be a justifica-
tion for bicameralism because each district
would have two representatives.
One of the arguments against unicam-
eralism is that if you are not in favor with
the particular single representative, there
is no one to go to. It is almost like being a
citizen of the Old Roman Empire. If you
were not in favor with the emperor there
was no place to go, and this argument still
applies to this particular organization.
You would have two people, one with a
smaller point of view and one with a larger
point of view, with whom you could discuss
your problems.
Now, if you would decide to make the

clear space
clear space
white space

Please view image to verify text. To report an error, please contact us.
Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 464   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

An Archives of Maryland electronic publication.
For information contact

©Copyright  August 02, 2018
Maryland State Archives