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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 481   View pdf image (33K)
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[Nov. 8] DEBATES 481
power to adjust the size of each house
"The Commission recognizes the possi-
bility that the advantages of relatively
small houses may succumb to the pres-
sure to increase the number of legisla-
tures, when the required apportionment
would eliminate the seats of incumbent
legislators, that it is of the opinion that
reliance must be placed on the General
Assembly to whatever action is appro-
That finishes the reference to the Com-
mission's draft that I think has relevance
to our consideration of this question today.
Let us take up next what the Eagleton
Institute of Politics of Rutgers University
has recommended with respect to the size
of the legislatures.
In the relative portions of the Eagleton
Institute's Report, the following language
is included:
"In comparison with other state legis-
latures, the General Assembly is large.
Only one-fifth of the states have larger
houses. Only one-third have larger sen-
ates. On a per capita basis as well,
Maryland ranks high, but what difference
does the difference between 185 and 140
or 100 members make?
"This is the question that I think is
relevant to your consideration today.
"Although our survey did not specifi-
cally ask legislators to evaluate the size
of the General Assembly, it is significant
that not one respondent mentions size as
a problem in need of remedy. Moreover,
subsequent interviews reveal that with
few exceptions, members did not think
a Senate of 43 and a House of 142 un-
wieldy. If numbers create a problem, it
is in the conduct of committees, not in
the House or Senate as a whole, and for
this there is another remedy. . . ."
They discuss their remedy later in the
report which of course is for more com-
mittees with substantive powers.
Let us take a look at the recommenda-
tion of the third group to which I referred.
Their recommendation is found at page 6
of the so-called majority report.
"The Committee majority," the last para-
graph of that report says, "came to the
conclusion that the two biggest factors
contributing to the invisibility and anony-
mity of the average Maryland legislator
was the fact that the present House of
Delegates is too large and that too many
senators and delegates are elected from
large anamorphic multi-member districts."
That is the substance of the report that
is before you and its justification which is
also before you the majority report says
we shall have from now until ad infinitum
a legislature not any larger than 35 and
105. It is possible, of course, under their
recommendation for the legislative size in
both bodies to be smaller—80-40, or what-
ever you will have. I bring this up now
in reference to the question raised by the
delegate who is Chairman of our Taxation
All three groups that I have referred to
were interviewed in one form or another,
present, past legislators or members of the
legislative body.
The Eagleton Institute interviewed about
two-thirds of the existing members of the
body. We interviewed I would say approxi-
mately no more, and this is just a guess
out of the blue, no more than one-twentieth
of the members of the present legislature,
and that is probably too high. There was
no unanimity of opinion among them that
the size of the legislature today was too
large. There were several that said they
thought it was too large. There were sev-
eral others that said they thought it could
be larger, but nobody said you had to get
the size of the body down to be able to
deal with it more effectively.
With that background, one group, the
Committee on the Legislative Branch, study-
ing this proposal for a period of no more
than two months, recommended that the
size of the legislative bodies for the future
be 35 members in the Senate and 105 mem-
bers in the House of Delegates.
The Constitutional Commission, studying
this proposition for a period of two years,
said, leave it to the legislature.
I think we should take a look at what
the majority vote of the Legislative Branch
Committee really represents as far as it
sits before you here today. On page 7 of
that Majority Report is the following lan-
"The Committee adopted these limita-
tions, 105 and 35, by a vote of 15 to 4,"
and then it lists the members voting for
the adoption by that margin.
I find, as I go through the list, that there
are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten of the fifteen who have
already voted in this chamber in the last

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 481   View pdf image (33K)
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