[photo, State House, Annapolis, Maryland] During the colonial period, Maryland's Proprietors - the Lords Baltimore - designated who would serve as governor on their behalf. From 1692 to 1715, when Maryland briefly was a royal colony, the Crown appointed the governor. Lord Baltimore regained control of Maryland in 1715 and chose a governor for the colony until the American Revolution.

Under Maryland's first constitution of 1776, the Governor was chosen annually by joint ballot of both houses of the General Assembly. At that time, ". . . if the person chosen governor shall die, resign, remove out of the State, or refuse to act (sitting the general assembly), the senate and house of delegates shall immediately thereupon proceed to a new choice . . ." (Const. 1776, sec. 25).

State House, Annapolis, Maryland, January 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

By 1809, if the Governor's position became vacant, the first named of the Governor's Council was to "act as a Governor, until the next meeting of the General Assembly" at which session a new governor would be chosen (Chapter 16, January Session, Acts of 1809, confirmed by Chapter 11, November Session, Acts of 1809). Authorization for the Council was abolished in 1836, along with provision for an acting governor (Chapter 197, Acts of 1836, confirmed by Chapter 84, Acts of 1837). The General Assembly resumed its authority to fill any vacancy in the office of Governor until the office of Lieutenant Governor was established in 1864 (Const. 1864, Art. II, secs. 6-10).
[photo, Interior, main floor, State House, Annapolis, Maryland] In 1838, by constitutional amendment, voters first began to elect the Governor every three years from one of three rotating gubernatorial districts (Chapter 197, Acts of 1836, confirmed by Chapter 84, Acts of 1837). At each election, only voters from a single gubernatorial election district selected the Governor. By 1851, the Governor's term of office was lengthened to four years (Const. 1851, Art. 2, sec. 1). The Constitution of 1864 eliminated the rotating gubernatorial election districts. Consequently, since the election of 1868, the Governor has been elected by all the voters throughout the State.

Elected by popular vote for a term of four years, the Governor takes office on the third Wednesday of January following election. No person may serve as Governor for more than two consecutive terms.

To be eligible for the office of Governor, a person must be at least thirty years of age and must have been a resident and registered voter of the State for five years immediately preceding election (Const., Art. II, secs. 1, 3, 5, 8, 21, 21A).

Interior, main floor, State House, Annapolis, Maryland, May 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, State House (from School St.), Annapolis, Maryland] The Governor is the chief executive officer of the State and commander-in-chief of its military forces (Code State Government Article, secs. 3-101 through 3-406). Headed by the Governor, the Executive Branch of Maryland government includes executive departments, independent agencies, and numerous commissions, task forces, committees, and advisory boards.

To each annual session of the General Assembly, the Governor must submit a budget of government for the following fiscal year. The Governor also may inform the General Assembly at any time of the condition of the State (Const., Art. II, sec. 19; Art. III, sec. 52(3)). Most commonly, this occurs through the Governor's State of the State Address at the beginning of a regular legislative session in January or February.

State House (from School St.), Annapolis, Maryland, November 1999. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Every bill passed by the General Assembly, except the annual budget bill, must be presented to the Governor before it becomes law. The Governor then may sign the bill into law or veto it. Any bill that the Governor vetoes may be passed without his signature by a three-fifths vote of the total number of members of each house of the General Assembly, either at the current session or at the session following. If a bill is presented more than six days before the General Assembly adjourns and is not vetoed within six days, or if a bill is presented within six days prior to the adjournment of the General Assembly and is not vetoed within thirty days after its presentment, then the bill becomes law without the Governor's signature. The Governor may veto any part of an appropriations bill, in the same manner as other bills, without vetoing it in its entirety (Const., Art. II, sec. 17; Art. III, sec. 52(6)).

The Governor is commander-in-chief of the military forces of the State - the National Guard - except when such forces are called into national service. If the National Guard is called, the Governor may establish a State Guard (Const., Art. II, sec. 8).

[photo, Government House, Annapolis, Maryland] In times of public emergency or energy emergency, the Governor has certain emergency powers as defined by law (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 14-301 through 14-406).

The Governor appoints all military and civil officers of the State subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, except when the election or appointment of such officers otherwise is provided for. In addition to appointing the heads of major departments, boards, and commissions of the State government, the Governor appoints certain boards and commissions in each county and the City of Baltimore, as provided for by law. The Governor also commissions notaries public and appoints persons to fill vacancies in the offices of Attorney General, Comptroller, and seats in the General Assembly. Any officer appointed by the Governor, except a member of the General Assembly, is removable by him for cause.

Government House, Annapolis, Maryland, May 2003. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

The Governor may grant pardons to persons convicted of criminal acts against the State, commute the sentences of prisoners of the State, and remit fines and forfeitures for offenses against the State. The Governor may extradite prisoners or persons wanted by other states upon the presentation of a writ of extradition and may issue a warrant for the arrest of any person so wanted. The Governor also may ask for the return to this State of any prisoner or person of another state wanted for the violation of the laws of Maryland (Const., Art. II, sec. 20).

By virtue of his office, the Governor serves on certain boards and commissions. The Governor chairs the Board of Public Works, the Governor's Executive Council (Cabinet), the P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland, and the State House Trust. The Governor also serves on the State Commission on the Capital City; the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Baltimore City; the Board of Trustees, Maryland Environmental Trust; the Rural Maryland Council; the Maryland Veterans Home Commission; and the Governor's Workforce Development Board. In addition, the Governor is a member of several interstate boards: the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Leadership Council; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chesapeake Executive Council; the Education Commission of the States; the Interstate Mining Compact Commission; the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean; the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission; the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin; the Southern Regional Education Board; the Southern States Energy Board; and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.


[photo, Interior of dome, State House, Annapolis, Maryland] The Office of the Governor is organized under the Chief of Staff. Appointed by the Governor, the Chief of Staff is responsible for the functioning of the Office of the Governor. Further, the Chief of Staff has specific oversight of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and the Department of Budget and Management.

Under the Chief of Staff, the Governor named three Senior Advisors in 2015 to assist the Governor's Office.

Interior of dome, State House, Annapolis, Maryland, May 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Reporting directly to the Chief of Staff, four Deputy Chiefs of Staff are responsible for the functions of government carried out by other government agencies.

One deputy chief of staff is responsible for the Governor's Washington Office and oversight of two departments: State Police, and Public Safety and Correctional Services, as well as Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Military Department, and Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission.

A second deputy chief of staff oversees four departments: Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources, and Planning; as well as the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission, Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays, State Board of Elections, Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Environmental Service, State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, Public Service Commission, State Workers Compensation Commission, and Uninsured Employers' Fund Board.

The third deputy chief of staff oversees nine departments: Aging; Disabilities; Education; Health; Housing and Community Development; Human Services; Juvenile Services; Labor; and Veterans Affairs; as well as the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System, Maryland Higher Education Commission, Maryland Insurance Administration, and University System of Maryland.

The fourth deputy chief of staff is responsible for the Board of Public Works, and Office of Secretary of State, and four departments: Commerce, General Services, Information Technology, and Transportation; as well as the State Department of Assessments and Taxation, Property Tax Assessments Appeal Board, and , Maryland Stadium Authority. Moreover, the Governor's Coordinating Offices are overseen here, including Governor's Office of Community Initiatives; Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services; Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Governor's Office of Performance Improvement; and Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs.

By 1967, the Appointments Office formally organized within the Office of the Governor.

All civil and military officers of the State, whose appointment or election is not otherwise provided for by the Constitution, are nominated and appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent unless a different mode of appointment is prescribed by law (Const., Art. II, secs. 10-14). The Appointments Office assists the Governor in this process, and actively recruits citizens to serve on executive commissions and boards.

Most commonly created by law or Executive Order, executive commissions and boards guide policy, operations, and programs vital to Marylanders. Members of these largely volunteer leadership bodies are public servants who issue licenses to doctors, architects, and amusement park operators; and set training standards for police, teachers, and 911 responders. Moreover, they devise economic development policy; oversee government efforts to attract and retain businesses; safeguard and promote Maryland's African-American heritage; and provide access to the arts for all.

Originally in the State House, the Appointments Office moved by 1989 to the Old Hall of Records Building on the campus of St. John's College in Annapolis. By 1991, the Office returned to the State House, and in 1995, moved to Shaw House at 21 State Circle in Annapolis. By 2006, the Appointments Office relocated to the Jeffrey Building (now the Wineland Building) at 16 Francis St., Annapolis. On May 4, 2022, the Appointments Office moved from the Fred L. Wineland Building to the former U.S. Post Office at 1 Church Circle, Annapolis.

By 1967, the Communications Office was known as the Public Relations Office. By 1971, it was called the News Office. In 1979, it became the Press Office. Again renamed the Communications Office in 1995, it later resumed the name, Press Office, and returned as the Communications Office in January 2015.

The Communications Office assists the Governor with communications to the public and the media, and with speechwriting and research.

The Governor's Federal Relations Office started as the Governorís Washington Office, and reformed under its present name in 2023.

For the Governor and Maryland State agencies, the Office serves as the main liaison to the U.S. Congress and the Maryland Congressional Delegation, the White House, federal agencies, and the National Governors Association. The Office works to develop and advance the Governorís federal agenda, manage appropriations requests, and monitor federal activity for potential impact on State programs and priorities.

The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs serves as the Executive Branch's official connection and liaison with county and municipal governments.

In 1990, the Office of Legal Counsel originated as Legal, Labor, and Special Issues. It reorganized in 1995 as the Office of Legal Counsel and Regulatory Affairs, and reformed under its present name in 2003.

To the Governor, Lt. Governor, the First Lady, and their staffs, the Office provides legal advice. The Office also coordinates matters related to the Governor's clemency and extradition powers, such as pardon, parole, and commutation of sentences.

Responsible for many functions, the Chief Legal Counsel heads the Office and serves as senior legal advisor and criminal justice advisor to the Office of the Governor. The Chief Legal Counsel also helps develop and advance the Administration's legislative package, and monitors important State litigation. Moreover, the Chief Legal Counsel reviews Executive Orders, negotiates memoranda of understanding, assists the Governor in the appointment of judges, and serves as liaison to the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General, and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.

Formerly in the Shaw House at 21 State Circle, Annapolis, the Office of Legal Counsel moved to the former U.S. Post Office at 1 Church Circle, Annapolis in February 2021.

The Legislative Office was organized formally by 1967 within the Office of the Governor. In January 2004, the Legislative Office merged with the Governor's Policy Office to form the Legislative and Policy Office. In 2007, it reformed as the Legislative Office.

Fifth Regiment Armory, 219 29th Division St., Baltimore, MD 21201 - 2288

The Governor may choose a military staff consisting of the Adjutant General and not more than twelve aides selected from the commissioned officers of the Maryland National Guard and naval militia. The Governor's military staff directs the functions of the Military Department (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 13-301 through 13-306).

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