Maryland General Assembly

From Ballotpedia
(Redirected from Maryland State Legislature)
Jump to: navigation, search
Maryland General Assembly

Seal of Maryland.jpg
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   None
2014 session start:   January 8, 2014
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Leadership
Senate President:   Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. (D)
House Speaker:  Michael Busch (D)
Majority Leader:   James Robey (D) (Senate),
Kumar Barve (D) (House)
Minority leader:   David Brinkley (R) (Senate),
Anthony O'Donnell (R) (House)
Structure
Members:  47 (Senate), 141 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 4 years (House)
Authority:   Art III, Maryland Constitution
Salary:   $43,500/year + per diem
Elections
Last Election:  November 2, 2010
47 seats (Senate)
141 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
47 seats (Senate)
141 seats (House)
Redistricting:  Maryland General Assembly has control
The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of Maryland. It is a bicameral body. The upper house, the Maryland State Senate, has 47 members and the lower house, the Maryland House of Delegates, has 141 members. Each member represents an average of 37,564 residents, as of the 2000 Census.[1] The General Assembly meets each year for 90 days to act on more than 2,300 bills including the State's annual budget, which it must pass before adjourning. Like the Governor of Maryland, members of both houses serve four-year terms. Each house elects its own officers, judges the qualifications and election of its own members, establishes rules for the conduct of its business, and may punish or expel its own members.

The Maryland General Assembly convenes within the State House in Annapolis.

As of October 2014, Maryland is one of 14 Democratic state government trifectas.

See also: Maryland House of Representatives, Maryland State Senate, Maryland Governor

Qualifications and membership

Each senator or delegate must be a citizen of Maryland and a resident for at least one year preceding his or her election. A prospective legislator must have resided for the six months prior to election in the legislative district the candidate seeks to represent. A senator must be at least twenty-five years of age at the time of election and a delegate at least twenty-one. Persons elected to or holding a civil or military office other than as a member of a reserve component under the federal or State government are not eligible for election to the General Assembly.

Each term lasts 4 years. However, members of the General Assembly are not subject to term limits. If a vacancy occurs in either house through death, resignation, or disqualification, the Governor appoints a replacement whose name is submitted by the State Central Committee of the same political party as the legislator whose seat is to be filled.

Sessions

Article III of the Maryland Constitution establishes when the General Assembly is to be in session. Section 14 of Article III states that the General Assembly is to convene in regular session every year on the second Wednesday of January.

Section 14 also contains the procedures for convening extraordinary sessions of the General Assembly. If a majority of the members of each legislative house petition the Governor of Maryland with a request for an extraordinary session, the Governor is constitutionally required to proclaim an extraordinary session.

Article II of the Maryland Constitution also gives the Governor of Maryland the power to proclaim an extraordinary session without the request of the General Assembly. Sessions last for 90 continuous days but can be extended for up to 30 days by vote of the legislature.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the General Assembly was in session from January 8 to April 7.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included addressing the state's minimum wage, emergency health insurance, marijuana legalization and tax relief.[2]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Assembly was in session from January 9 to April 8.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included an assault weapons ban, boosting the state's wind power industry, transportation funding and repeal of the death penalty.[3]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the General Assembly was in session from January 11 through April 19.

2011

In 2011, the General Assembly was in session from January 12 through April 8.[4] A special redistricting session was held from October 17 to October 20.[5][6]

2010

In 2010, the Maryland General Assembly was in session from January 13 to April 10.[7]

Role in state budget

See also: Maryland state budget

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[8][9]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in June of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in late August.
  3. Agency hearings are held from October through November.
  4. Public hearings are held from January through March.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature on the third Wednesday in January.
  6. The legislature typically adopts a budget in April. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Maryland is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[9]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[9]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Maryland was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.[10]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: Following the Money 2014 Report

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[11] According to the report, Maryland received a grade of B- and a numerical score of 82.5, indicating that Maryland was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[11]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Maryland was given a grade of B in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[12]

Legislative districts

The current pattern for distribution of seats began with the legislative apportionment plan of 1972 and has been revised every ten years thereafter according to the results of the decennial U.S. Census. A Constitutional amendment, the plan created 47 legislative districts, many of which cross county boundaries to delineate districts relatively equal in population. Each legislative district elects one senator and three delegates. In most districts, the three delegates are elected at large from the whole district via block voting. However, in some more sparsely populated areas of the state, the districts are divided into subdistricts for the election of delegates: either into three one-delegate subdistricts or one two-delegate subdistrict and one one-delegate subdistrict.

Redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Maryland

Maryland employs two distinct processes for state legislative and Congressional redistricting. The General Assembly bears primary responsibility, proposing and passing the redistricting plan as ordinary legislation, and the Governor of Maryland can veto the plan. For state legislative redistricting, the Governor is responsible for drafting plans and submitting the new maps to the General Assembly. The Governor, aided by an advisory commission, submits a plan, and the chamber leadership introduces the plan as a joint resolution. The General Assembly may then adopt the plan or pass another. If a plan is not adopted by the 45th day of the session, the Governor's plan becomes law.[13]

2010

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland's population grew from 5.30 million to 5.77 million between 2000 and 2010.[14] The growth rate was slightly below the national average, but was one of the fastest rates in the Northeast. Maryland retained all eight Congressional districts, but population shifts suggested that many districts would need to be redrawn.[15] The City of Baltimore lost population relative to other areas of the state.[16]

Gov. Martin O'Malley introduced a state legislative plan on January 11, 2012. Members of the legislature produced alternative plans, but no hearings were scheduled. O'Malley's map became law in February 2012 without a vote.[17] The map-making process had been criticized for the inclusion of a tax evader on the Redistricting Advisory Committee, but O'Malley noted that the financial troubles of this member were not made known to him or the public until later in the process, and this individual was cut off from the process after that point.[18]

The Congressional district map was challenged by petitioners, but a drive to place the matter before voters failed after many of the signatures gathered were voided in a legal decision.[19][20]

Leadership

The Senate is led by a President and the House by a Speaker whose respective duties and prerogatives enable them to influence the legislative process significantly. The President and the Speaker appoint the members of most committees and name their chairs and vice-chairs, except in the case of the Joint Committee on Investigation whose members elect their own officers. The President and Speaker preside over the daily sessions of their respective chambers, maintaining decorum and deciding points of order. As legislation is introduced, they assign it to a standing committee for consideration and a public hearing. The president pro tempore appoints majority and minority whips and leaders.

Legislators

Salaries

See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Maryland legislature are paid $43,500/year. Legislators receive $100/day for lodging. Additionally, they receive $42 for meals and $225/day for out-of-state travel (which includes meals/lodging).[21]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Maryland legislators assume office the second Wednesday in January after the election.

Senate

The Maryland State Senate is the upper house of the General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland. It is composed of 47 senators elected from single-member districts. Maryland was required to use 2010 Census adjusted population numbers for redistricting, pursuant to the "No Representation Without Population Act" (SB 400/HB 496) signed into law in 2010. Generally, the law requires that the census data must be adjusted to reassign Maryland residents in state and federal correctional institutions to their last known address, and to exclude out-of-state residents in correctional institutions for the purposes of creating congressional, state legislative and local districting plans. Each member represents an average of 122,813 residents[22]. After the 2000 Census, each member represented 112,691.[23]

Party As of October 2014
     Democratic Party 35
     Republican Party 12
Total 47


The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Maryland State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Maryland State Senate.PNG

House of Delegates

The Maryland House of Delegates is the lower house of the General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland, and is composed of 141 delegates elected from 47 districts. Maryland was required to use 2010 Census adjusted population figures for Maryland Redistricting, pursuant to the "No Representation Without Population Act" (SB 400\HB 496) signed into Maryland law in 2010. Generally, the law requires that the census data must be adjusted to reassign Maryland residents in state and federal correctional institutions to their last known address, and to exclude out-of-state residents in correctional institutions for the purposes of creating congressional, state legislative and local districting plans. Each member represents an average of 40,938 residents.[22] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 37,564 residents on average.[24]

Party As of October 2014
     Democratic Party 98
     Republican Party 43
Total 141

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1992 to 2013.
Partisan composition of the Maryland State House.PNG

History

Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Maryland
Partisan breakdown of the Maryland legislature from 1992-2013

Maryland State Senate: During every year from 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Maryland State Senate. The Maryland State Senate is one of 16 state Senates that were Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992 and 2013. Maryland was under a Democratic trifecta for the last seven years of the study period.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state Senates from 1992 to 2013.

Maryland House of Delegates: During every year from 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Maryland State House of Representatives. The Maryland House of Delegates is one of 18 state Houses that were Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Maryland was under a Democratic trifecta for the last seven years of the study period.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican state Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Maryland, the Maryland State Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates from 1992 to 2013. Partisan composition of Maryland state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Maryland state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Maryland experienced two long periods of Democratic trifectas, between 1992 and 2002 and again between 2007 and 2013. The state cracked the top-10 in the SQLI ranking in three separate years (2002, 2006, and 2008), twice under a Democratic trifecta and once under divided government. Maryland ranked lowest on the SQLI ranking in two separate years (1992 and 1995), in which the state placed 25th under a Democratic trifecta. Maryland has never had a Republican trifecta.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 16.35
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 10.75
Chart displaying the partisanship of Maryland government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Joint committees

The Maryland General Assembly has nineteen (19) standing committees.

External links

References

  1. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001
  2. washingtonpost.com, "10 things to watch in the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session," January 7, 2014
  3. Washington Post, "Maryland legislative session begins with bold predictions," January 9, 2013
  4. Maryland Department of Legislative Services, "Journal of Proceedings of the Senate of Maryland - 2011 Regular Session - Volume I," accessed June 15, 2014 (Referenced p. iv)
  5. Associated Press, "Md. special session anticipated in week of Oct. 17," July 6, 2011
  6. Maryland Department of Legislative Services, "Journal of Proceedings of the Senate of Maryland - 2011 Special Session," accessed June 15, 2014
  7. Maryland Department of Legislative Services, "Journal of Proceedings of the Senate of Maryland - 2010 Regular Session - Volume I," accessed June 15, 2014 (Referenced p. iv)
  8. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  10. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  12. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  13. Maryland Department of Planning, "Redistricting FAQs," accessed June 16, 2011
  14. U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Maryland Profile, 2011
  15. The Baltimore Sun, "Maryland population grows by 480,000, Census says," December 21, 2010
  16. Baltimore Sun, "Redistricting: Mighty Baltimore to lose influence," August 11, 2011
  17. WBAL, "Lawmakers To Let O'Malley Redistricting Plan Take Effect Without a Vote," accessed February 23, 2012
  18. Baltimore Sun, "Redistricting plan questioned after O'Malley adviser's conviction," December 22, 2011
  19. The Baltimore Sun, "Redistricting Map Foes Say They Have Passed First Test," May 31, 2012
  20. Southern Maryland Online, "Democratic Lawsuit Challenges GOP Petition Success," July 27, 2012
  21. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  22. 22.0 22.1 Gazette.net, "Redrawn lines will lead to court, redistricting expert says," July 15, 2011
  23. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001
  24. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001