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Maryland Manual, 1994-95
Volume 186, Page 23   View pdf image
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Maryland Manual 1994-1995 Maryland at a Glance /23


Maryland government is based on a written
compact known as the Constitution of Maryland.
The State has had four constitutions, each contain-
ing a declaration of rights, the State's equivalent of
a bill of rights. Maryland's first constitution was
adopted during the Revolutionary War in 1776, 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 Constitution
proper, and those amendments ratified to date.

The source of all power and authority for gov-
erning 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)

While responsibility for promoting the public
interest is vested in specific officers and agencies of
State government, actual governing authority re-
mains 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

Believing that it would be too cumbersome for
all persons to participate directly in the operation
of government, framers of the Constitution of 1867
followed precedent established in earlier Maryland
constitutions by delegating power to elected repre-
sentatives. They also continued to separate powers
of government into three distinct branches—execu-
tive, legislative, and judicial—which exercise certain
checks and balances on each other.


The Executive Branch, consisting of various con-
stitutional and statutory 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 to a four-year term
each even-numbered year that is not a presidential
election year. The Governor is responsible for en-
suring that Maryland's laws are executed effectively;
that certain appointments as provided by the Con-
stitution or by law are made; that a budget is
presented annually to the legislature; and, as com-
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. Du-
ties of the Lieutenant Governor are limited to those
assigned by the Governor. The Governor and Lieu-
tenant 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 pro-
vided 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 depart-
ments, boards, and most commissions. Each of
these executive 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 impor-
tant agency of the executive department is the
Board of Public Works, composed of the Governor,
the Comptroller, and the Treasurer. The Board ap-
proves all sums expended through State loans, most
capital improvements, 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 reorgan-
ized to bring agencies with related functions to-
gether 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 Devel-
opment, Transportation, and Agriculture. The
State Department of Education became a principal


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Maryland Manual, 1994-95
Volume 186, Page 23   View pdf image
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