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Maryland Manual, 1985-86
Volume 182, Page 31   View pdf image (33K)
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such taxes as are in accordance with the Constitu-
tion of the State and of the United States. It may
propose amendments 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 become
law when signed by the Governor, or when passed
over the Governor's veto by three-fifths of the
membership of each House. Laws thus approved
take effect on the first day of June after the session
in which they were passed, except (1) when a later
date is specified in the Act, or (2) when the bill is
declared an emergency measure. Emergency bills
must be passed by three-fifths of the total number
of members of each House, and become law
immediately upon their approval 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, except
appropriation bills, and any local bill that concerns
a county or Baltimore City, may be submitted to a
referendum by petition. No bill subject to a
referendum is enforceable until approved by a
majority of the voters at the election in which the
referred bill is voted upon, except an emergency
bill, which is effective immediately and remains
effective thirty days following its rejection by the
voters (Const. 1867, Art. XVI).

The House of Delegates has sole power of
impeachment of any officer of the State. A majori-
ty of the whole number of members of the House
must approve any bill of impeachment. The Senate
tries all impeachment cases, and two-thirds of the
total number of Senators must concur in a verdict
of guilty (Const. 1867, Art, III, sec. 26).

Both Houses elect the State Treasurer by joint
ballot. The General Assembly also elects the
Governor or the Lieutenant Governor if the popu-
lar election has resulted in a tie or the winning
candidate 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 Governor nomi-
nates a person to succeed to that office upon
confirmation by a majority vote of all members of
the General Assembly in joint session. If vacancies
occur in both the offices of Governor and Lieuten-
ant 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 Governor then nominates
a Lieutenant Governor with the same confirma-

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 Senate
must convene and fill the vacancy (Const. 1867,
Art. II, secs. 1A, 1B, 6, 7A).


Upon request of a legislator, the Department of
Legislative Reference drafts legislation in the form
of a bill or a joint resolution. As a "profiled bill," a
bill or joint resolution may be introduced before
the regular General Assembly session convenes in
January. A bill is filed ("goes into the hopper")
with the secretary of the Senate or the clerk of the
House, is given a number, and is readied for its
first reading on the floor.

First Reading: The reading clerk, when the
session has convened, first reads the title of the bill.
This is the first of three readings given the bill in
the house where it is introduced. Then, the presid-
ing officer assigns the bill to a standing committee.
Bills may be introduced in either chamber until the
last thirty-five days of the session. Thereafter, they
only may be introduced with the consent of two-
thirds of the membership.

Reference to Committee: The standing commit-
tees meet daily during the session to receive
testimony and take action on bills assigned. Citi-
zens are encouraged to present their views on
proposed bills by mail or by personal appearance.
The Department of Fiscal Services prepares a fiscal
analysis for each bill and these fiscal notes are
considered during the committee deliberations.

Second Reading and Floor Consideration: The
bill is reported to the floor by the standing
committee to which it was assigned. The report
may be favorable, unfavorable, or without recom-
mendation. If favorable, it may be with or without
committee amendment. After consideration of
committee amendments, the bill is then open to
amendment from the floor. There, committee
action may be reversed, although this happens

Third Reading: The bill, with any adopted
amendments, is then printed for third reading. No
amendments may be presented on third reading. In


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Maryland Manual, 1985-86
Volume 182, Page 31   View pdf image (33K)
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