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Maryland Manual, 1991-92
Volume 185, Page 19   View pdf image (33K)
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Maryland Govemment/19


Maryland government is based on a written
compact known as the Constitution of Maryland.
The State has had four constitutions. The first was
adopted in 1776 during the Revolutionary War, the
second in 1851, and the third in 1864. The fourth
and present constitution was adopted in 1867. It
consists of a declaration of rights, the operational
sections of the Constitution proper, and those
amendments ratified to date.

The source of all power and authority for
governing the State of Maryland lies with its
citizens. The Constitution's Declaration of Rights
makes clear "That all Government of right
originates from the People, is founded in compact
only, and is instituted solely for the good of the
whole; and they have, at all times, the inalienable
right to alter, reform or abolish their Form of
Government in such manner as they may deem
expedient." (Art. 1)

Thus, while responsibility for promoting the
public interest is vested in specific officers and agen-
cies of Stare government, actual governing
authority remains with the registered voters of
Maryland. A registered voter must be eighteen years
of age or older, a citizen of the United States, and
a resident of Maryland thirty days prior to the date
of an election.

Believing that it would be too cumbersome for
all persons to participate directly in the operation
of government, the framers of Maryland's Constitu-
tion of 1867 followed precedent established in ear-
lier Maryland constitutions by delegating power to
elected representatives. They also continued to
separate powers of government into three distinct
branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—
which exercise certain checks and balances on each


The Executive Branch, consisting of various con-
stitutional and starurory officers and agencies, im-
plements and enforces Maryland's laws and
provides executive direction within a centralized
administration. The chief executive officer is the
governor, elected by the voters for a four-year term
each even-numbered year that is not a presidential
election year. The governor is responsible for ensur-
ing that Maryland's laws are effectively executed;
that certain appointments as provided by the Con-
stitution or by law are made; chat a budget is
presented annually to the legislature; and, as corn-

mander in chief of the military, that the armed forces
of the State are able to meet any emergency. The
governor may veto legislation passed by the legis-
lature, and the governor appoints judges to the
State judiciary The governor is assisted by the
lieutenant governor, who runs for election on a
joint ballot with the gubernatorial candidate.
Duties of the lieutenant governor are limited to
those assigned by the governor. The governor and
lieutenant governor each must be at least thirty
years old and a resident and voter of Maryland for
the five years immediately preceding election.

Other statewide executive officers also are
provided for in the Constitution. The comptroller
of the treasury superintends the fiscal affairs of the
State. The State treasurer accounts for all deposits
and disbursements to or from the State treasury
The secretary of state attests to the governor's
signature on all public documents and oversees all
executive orders, commissions, and appointments.
The attorney general serves as legal counsel to the
governor, the legislature, and all State departments,
boards, and most commissions. Each of these ex-
ecutive officers serves a four-year term. The voters
elect the comptroller and attorney general. The
treasurer is selected by joint ballot of both houses
of the General Assembly and the secretary of state
is appointed by the governor. An important agency
of the executive department is the Board of Public
Works, composed of the governor, the comptroller,
and the treasurer. The Board approves all sums
expended through Scare loans, most capital im-
provements, and the sale, lease, or transfer of all real
property owned by the State.

Until recently, Maryland, like most states, had
experienced a steady proliferation of governmental
agencies, boards, and commissions as the need for
public services increased. Between 1969 and 1972,
the executive branch of government was reor-
ganized to bring agencies with related functions
together under a new departmental structure. The
General Assembly passed legislation creating
twelve new cabinet-level departments, encompass-
ing nearly 250 separate governmental entities. In
order of their creation, the twelve departments
were: Health and Mental Hygiene, Budget and
Fiscal Planning, Natural Resources, State Planning,
Personnel, General Services, Human Resources,
Public Safety and Correctional Services, Licensing
and Regulation, Economic and Community
Development, Transportation, and Agriculture.
The State Department of Education became a


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Maryland Manual, 1991-92
Volume 185, Page 19   View pdf image (33K)
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