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Maryland Manual, 1991-92
Volume 185, Page 39   View pdf image (33K)
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Legislature/39

petitioned to a referendum by the voters. No bill subject to referendum, except an emergency bill, is
enforceable until approved by a majority of the voters at the next election. An emergency bill subject to
referendum goes into effect upon passage and remains effective for thirty days following its rejection by
the voters (Const., Art. XVI).

The House of Delegates has sole power to impeach officers and judges of the State. A majority of all
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 reaching a verdict of guilty (Const., Art.
Ill, sec. 26).

Both houses elect the State Treasurer by joint ballot. The General Assembly also elects the Governor
or the Lieutenant Governor if the popular election results in a tie or the winning candidate or candidates
are ineligible. If a vacancy occurs in the office of Lieutenant Governor, the Governor nominates 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 bodi the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor at the same time,
the General Assembly must convene and elect a Governor by a majority vote of all members in joint session.
The chosen Governor then nominates a Lieutenant Governor requiring the same confirmation.

The President of the Senate serves as acting Governor if the Lieutenant Governor is unable to do so.
Should a vacancy occur in the office of President of the Senate while the President is authorized to serve
as acting Governor, the Senate must convene and fill the vacancy (Const., Art. II, sees. 1A, 1B, 6, 7A).

THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS:
HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW

Current laws of the State are compiled in the
Annotated Code of Maryland. The General Assembly
changes, adds, and deletes those laws through the
legislative process of introducing and passing bills.
Ideas for bills come from many sources: con-
stituents, the Governor, governmental agencies,
study commissions, special interest groups, lob-
byists, professional organizations, and legislative
committees, for example. However, each bill must
be sponsored by a legislator. The State Constitution
mandates that bills be limited to one subject clearly
described by the tide of the bill and be drafted in
the style and form of the Annotated Code (Const.,
Art. Ill, sec. 29). The one-subject limitation and the
tide requirement are safeguards against fraudulent
legislation and allow legislators and constituents to
monitor a bill's progress more easily Omnibus bills,
common in the U.S. Congress, are clearly forbidden
under Maryland law.

At the request of legislators, bills are drafted to
meet constitutional standards by the Department
of Legislative Reference. The Department begins to
receive bill-drafting requests for the next legislative
session shortly after the previous session ends in
mid-April, although bill drafting does not begin in
earnest until July In the interim between sessions,
legislators meet in committees, task forces, and
other groups to study and formulate bill proposals.
From 1987 through 1990, the number of bills
introduced per session has averaged 947 in the
Senate and 1,564 in the House of Delegates. This
volume of bills makes it difficult for each bill to get
through the legislative process within the 90-day
session. Therefore, legislators often try to introduce
their bills as early as possible. A bill filed with the
Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the

House prior to the first day of a regular session is
called a profiled bill. Such a bill is introduced (i.e.,
read across the floor) and assigned to a standing
committee on the opening day of a session, thus
obtaining a head start advantage. In 1990, 206
Senate bills and 210 House bills were profiled.
In addition to bills, legislators introduce joint
resolutions. Substantive in nature, a joint resolution
expresses the will, opinion, or public policy of the
General Assembly (Senate Rule 25; House Rule
25). They are subject to the same legislative process
as are bills, must be passed by both houses, but after
passage are not codified in the Annotated Code.
Joint resolutions that pass both houses are num-
bered and printed in the Session Laws for that year.
The Governor does not veto joint resolutions and
may or may not sign them.
Certain issues are required by law or the Con-
stitution to be introduced in the form of a joint
resolution and such joint resolutions have the force
and effect of law. Examples include salary recom-
mendations from the General Assembly Compen-
sation Commission, the Governor's Salary
Commission, and the Judicial Compensation Com-
mission; reapportionmenc plans for General As-
sembly membership required after every decennial
census; and amendments to the U.S. Constitution
submitted for ratification.
After the Department of Legislative Reference
drafts legislation in the form of a bill or a joint
resolution, the sponsor files it, "drops it into the
hopper", with the Secretary of the Senate or the
Chief Clerk of the House. A bill or resolution is
numbered, stamped for approval and codification
by the Department of Legislative Reference
(Senate Rule 26; House Rule 26), and printed for

 



 
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Maryland Manual, 1991-92
Volume 185, Page 39   View pdf image (33K)
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