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Maryland Manual, 1981-82
Volume 180, Page 28   View pdf image (33K)
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28/Maryland Manual

Jacqueline M. Spell, Chief Clerk
Margery S. LaMar, Assistant Chief Clerk
Mary K. Perryclear, Journal Clerk
Brenda C. Ward, Assistant Journal Clerk
Alan Bernstein, Reading Clerk
Cornelia Connelly, Page Coordinator

The legislative powers of the State of Maryland
are vested in the General Assembly, which con-
sists of two distinct branches, the Senate and the
House of Delegates (Const. 1867, Art. Ill, sec.
1). The General Assembly consists of 188 mem-
bers, with 47 Senators and 141 members of the
House of Delegates. They are elected from 47 leg-
islative districts.

Every Senator or Delegate must be a citizen of
the State and a resident of it for at least one year
preceding the date of his election. For six months
prior to his election he must have resided in his
legislative district. A Senator must be at least
twenty-five years of age at the time of his election
and a Delegate at least twenty-one. No member
of Congress or any person holding a civil or mili-
tary office under the United States Government is
eligible for election to the General Assembly (III,
9, 10, 11). The term of each Senator and Delegate
is four years from the second Wednesday of Janu-
ary following the date of his election (III, 6). The
Governor is required to appoint to any vacancy
that occurs in either House through death, resig-
nation, or disqualification a person whose name is
submitted to him in writing by the State Central
Committee of the political party with which the
Delegate or Senator, so vacating, had been affili-
ated in the County or District from which he or
she was elected, provided that the appointee shall
be of the same political party as the person whose
office is to be filled. All persons so appointed
serve for the unexpired portion of the term (III,
13). Each House elects its own officers, is judge
of the qualifications and election of its own mem-
bers, and establishes rules for the conduct of its

The General Assembly meets annually. Ses-
sions begin the second Wednesday in January and
are for a period not longer than ninety days. The
General Assembly may extend its sessions beyond
ninety days, but not to exceed an additional thir-
ty days, by resolution concurred in by three-fifths
vote of the membership in each House. The Gov-
ernor may call special sessions at any time he
deems it necessary (III, 14), but no single special

session may last longer than thirty days.

The General Assembly must pass at each regu-
lar session a budget bill that contains the budget
for the State government for the next fiscal year.
Upon the passage of the bill by both Houses, it
becomes a law without further action (III, 52).
By Constitutional Amendment adopted by the
people at the General Election held November 7,
1978, the General Assembly is authorized to en-
act laws (other than appropriation bills) that
mandate the Governor, in the preparation of the
annual budget, to provide for the funding of spe-
cific programs at specified levels (III, 52(11) and

Under the provisions of a Constitutional
Amendment ratified by the voters in 1972 (Chap-
ter 369, Acts of 1972), the Senate and the House
of Delegates may adopt a "consent calendar"
procedure permitting bills to be read and voted
upon as a single group on both second and third
readings, affording members of each House rea-
sonable notice of the bills so placed on each con-
sent calendar (III, 27, 28).

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
powers and for special taxing areas. The Home
Rule Amendment of 1954 (XI-E) virtually pro-
hibits the General Assembly from passing local
legislation for incorporated cities and towns, al-
though the Assembly retains its power to pass a
general statewide law that affects them. The Gen-
eral Assembly may establish such departments of
State government as are necessary for its efficient
operation and may establish special taxing dis-
tricts or areas within the State for the purpose of
administering a special function or functions. The
General Assembly may establish such taxes as are
in accordance with the Constitution of the State
and of the United States. It may propose amend-
ments to the State Constitution, which must be
embodied in a regular legislative bill passed by
three-fifths of the total membership of each
House. All amendments to the Constitution must
be submitted to the voters at the next general
election after passage.

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
after 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


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Maryland Manual, 1981-82
Volume 180, Page 28   View pdf image (33K)
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