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Maryland Manual, 1979-80
Volume 179, Page 20   View pdf image (33K)
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20/Maryland Manual General Assembly

The General Assembly has power to pass such
laws as are necessary for the welfare of the State,
and, in addition, it has the power to pass public
local laws for counties not having home rule pow-
ers and for special taxing areas. The Home Rule
Amendment of 1954 (XI-E) virtually prohibits
the General Assembly from passing local legisla-
tion for incorporated cities and towns, although
the Assembly retains its power to pass a general
statewide law that affects them. The General As-
sembly may establish such departments of State
government as are necessary for its efficient oper-
ation and may establish special taxing districts or
areas within the State for the purpose of adminis-
tering a special function or functions. The Gener-
al Assembly may establish such taxes as are in
accordance with the Constitution of the State and
of the United States. It may propose amendments
to the State Constitution, which must be embod-
ied in a regular legislative bill passed by three-
fifths of the total membership of each House. All
amendments to the Constitution must be submit-
ted to the voters at the next general election after

All bills passed by the General Assembly be-
come law when signed by the Governor, or
passed over his veto by three-fifths of the mem-
bership of each House, on the first day of June af-
ter the session in which the law was passed, ex-
cept (1) when a later date is specified in the Act,
or (2) when the bill is declared an emergency
measure and is passed by three-fifths of the total
number of members of each House, in which case
the bill becomes law immediately upon its ap-
proval by the Governor.

The General Assembly may add a referendum
provision to any local bill but may not submit a
statewide bill to referendum (with the exception
of a proposed amendment to the Constitution or
a Soldiers' Bonus Bill). Most statewide bills, ex-
cept appropriation bills, and any local bill that
concerns a county or Baltimore City, may be sub-
mitted to a referendum by petition. No bill sub-
ject to a referendum shall be enforceable until ap-
proved by a majority of the voters at the election
in which the referred bill is voted upon, except an
emergency bill, which shall be effective immedi-
ately and shall remain effective thirty days follow-
ing its rejection by the voters (XVI).

The House of Delegates has sole power of im-
peachment of any officer of the State. A majority
of the whole number of members of the House
must approve any bill of impeachment. The Sen-
ate tries all impeachment cases, and two-thirds of
the total number of Senators must concur in a
verdict of guilty (III, 26).

Both Houses elect the State Treasurer by joint
ballot. The General Assembly also elects the
Governor and/or the Lieutenant Governor if the
popular election has resulted in a tie or the win-
ning candidate and/or candidates are ineligible.
When a vacancy occurs in the office of Governor,
the Lieutenant Governor succeeds to that office
for the remainder of the term. If a vacancy occurs
in the office of Lieutenant Governor, the Gover-
nor nominates a person to succeed to that office
upon confirmation by a majority vote of all
members of the General Assembly in joint ses-
sion. If vacancies occur in both the offices of
Governor and Lieutenant Governor at the same
time, the General Assembly must convene and fill
the office of Governor by a majority vote of all
the members in joint session. The chosen Gover-
nor then nominates a Lieutenant Governor with
the same confirmation.

The President of the Senate serves as acting
Governor if the Lieutenant Governor is not able
to serve as acting Governor. If there is a vacancy
in the office of President of the Senate when he is
authorized to serve as acting Governor, the Sen-
ate must convene and fill the vacancy (II, I A, IB,


The General Assembly met in regular session
on January 12, 1977, and adjourned on April II,

A total of 3,328 bills was introduced of which
1,201 were Senate bills and 2,127 were House
bills. Of the 1,201 Senate bills, 423 were passed
by both Houses; of this latter number, 382 were
signed by the Governor and 41 were vetoed. Of
the 2,127 House bills introduced, 649 were passed
by both Houses, and of this latter number 595
were signed by the Governor and 54 were vetoed.

Joint Resolutions introduced totaled 201 with
77 in the Senate and 124 in the House. Of these,
24 Senate and 43 House Joint Resolutions were
passed by both Houses. Twenty-one Senate and
36 House Joint Resolutions were signed by the

Five bills vetoed by the Governor following the
1976 Session were passed by both Houses over
his veto in this Session.

"The budget bill enacted at this Session for the
fiscal year ending June 30, 1978, amounted to
S3,978,990,834. The General Construction Loan
bill passed was for a total of $87,430,100.

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Maryland Manual, 1979-80
Volume 179, Page 20   View pdf image (33K)
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