Article XVI, Maryland Constitution
(added by Chapter 673, Acts of 1914, ratified Nov. 2, 1915)
| Text of Section 1:
(a) The people reserve to themselves power known as The Referendum, by petition to have submitted to the registered voters of the State, to approve or reject at the polls, any Act, or part of any Act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or, if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor;
(b) The provisions of this Article shall be self-executing; provided that additional legislation in furtherance thereof and not in conflict therewith may be enacted.
| Text of Section 2:
No law enacted by the General Assembly shall take effect until the first day of June next after the session at which it may be passed, unless it contains a Section declaring such law an emergency law and necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health or safety and is passed upon a yea and nay vote supported by three-fifths of all the members elected to each of the two Houses of the General Assembly. The effective date of a law other than an emergency law may be extended as provided in Section 3 (b) hereof. If before said first day of June there shall have been filed with the Secretary of the State a petition to refer to a vote of the people any law or part of a law capable of referendum, as in this Article provided, the same shall be referred by the Secretary of State to such vote, and shall not become a law or take effect until thirty days after its approval by a majority of the electors voting thereon at the next ensuing election held throughout the State for Members of the House of Representatives of the United States. An emergency law shall remain in force notwithstanding such petition, but shall stand repealed thirty days after having been rejected by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon. No measure changing the salary of any officer, or granting any franchise or special privilege, or creating any vested right or interest, shall be enacted as an emergency law. No law making any appropriation for maintaining the State Government, or for maintaining or aiding any public institution, not exceeding the next previous appropriation for the same purpose, shall be subject to rejection or repeal under this Section. The increase in any such appropriation for maintaining or aiding any public institution shall only take effect as in the case of other laws, and such increase or any part thereof specified in the petition, may be referred to a vote of the people upon petition.
(amended by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978; Chapter 588, Acts of 2002, ratified Nov. 5, 2002).
| Text of Section 3:
(a) The referendum petition against an Act or part of an Act passed by the General Assembly, shall be sufficient if signed by three percent of the qualified voters of the State of Maryland, calculated upon the whole number of votes cast for Governor at the last preceding Gubernatorial election, of whom not more than half are residents of Baltimore City, or of any one County. However, any Public Local Law for any one County or the City of Baltimore, shall be referred by the Secretary of State only to the people of the County or City of Baltimore, upon a referendum petition of ten percent of the qualified voters of the County or City of Baltimore, as the case may be, calculated upon the whole number of votes cast respectively for Governor at the last preceding Gubernatorial election.
(b) If more than one-third, but less than the full number of signatures required to complete any referendum petition against any law passed by the General Assembly, be filed with the Secretary of State before the first day of June, the time for the law to take effect and for filing the remainder of signatures to complete the petition shall be extended to the thirtieth day of the same month, with like effect.
If an Act is passed less than 45 days prior to June 1, it may not become effective sooner than 31 days after its passage. To bring this Act to referendum, the first one-third of the required number of signatures to a petition shall be submitted within 30 days after its passage. If the first one-third of the required number of signatures is submitted to the Secretary of State within 30 days after its passage, the time for the Act to take effect and for filing the remainder of the signatures to complete the petition shall be extended for an additional 30 days.
(c) In this Article, "pass" or "passed" means any final action upon any Act or part of an Act by both Houses of the General Assembly; and "enact" or "enacted" means approval of an Act or part of an Act by the Governor.
(d) Signatures on a petition for referendum on an Act or part of an Act may be signed at any time after the Act or part of an Act is passed.
(amended by Chapter 548, Acts of 1976, ratified Nov. 2, 1976. Sec. 3(a) previously amended by Chapter 6, Acts of 1962, ratified Nov. 6, 1962).
| Text of Section 4:
A petition may consist of several papers, but each paper shall contain the full text, or an accurate summary approved by the Attorney General, of the Act or part of Act petitioned. There shall be attached to each paper of signatures filed with a petition an affidavit of the person procuring those signatures that the signatures were affixed in his presence and that, based upon the person's best knowledge and belief, every signature on the paper is genuine and bona fide and that the signers are registered voters at the address set opposite or below their names. The General Assembly shall prescribe by law the form of the petition, the manner for verifying its authenticity, and other administrative procedures which facilitate the petition process and which are not in conflict with this Article.
(amended by Chapter 548, Acts of 1976, ratified Nov. 2, 1976; Chapter 849, Acts of 1982, ratified Nov. 2, 1982).
| Text of Section 5:
(a) The General Assembly shall provide for furnishing the voters of the State the text of all measures to be voted upon by the people; provided, that until otherwise provided by law the same shall be published in the manner prescribed by Article XIV of the Constitution for the publication of proposed Constitutional Amendments.
(b) All laws referred under the provisions of this Article shall be submitted separately on the ballots to the voters of the people, but if containing more than two hundred words, the full text shall not be printed on the official ballots, but the Secretary of State shall prepare and submit a ballot title of each such measure in such form as to present the purpose of said measure concisely and intelligently. The ballot title may be distinct from the legislative title, but in any case the legislative title shall be sufficient. Upon each of the ballots, following the ballot title or text, as the case may be, of each such measure, there shall be printed the words "For the referred law" and "Against the referred law," as the case may be. The votes cast for and against any such referred law shall be returned to the Governor in the manner prescribed with respect to proposed amendments to the Constitution under Article XIV of this Constitution, and the Governor shall proclaim the result of the election, and, if it shall appear that the majority of the votes cast on any such measure were cast in favor thereof, the Governor shall by his proclamation declare the same having received a majority of the votes to have been adopted by the people of Maryland as a part of the laws of the State, to take effect thirty days after such election, and in like manner and with like effect the Governor shall proclaim the result of the local election as to any Public Local Law which shall have been submitted to the voters of any County or of the City of Baltimore.
| Text of Section 6:
No law, licensing, regulating, prohibiting, or submitting to local option, the manufacture or sale of malt or spirituous liquors, shall be referred or repealed under the provisions of this Article.
(amended by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).