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Maryland State Senate

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Maryland State Senate

Seal of Maryland.jpg
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 14, 2015
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. (D)
Majority Leader:   Catherine Pugh (D)
Minority Leader:   J.B. Jennings (R)
Members:  47
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art III, Section 2, Maryland Constitution
Salary:   $43,500/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 4, 2014 (47 seats)
Next election:  November 6, 2018 (47 seats)
Redistricting:  General Assembly has control
Meeting place:
The Maryland State Senate is the upper house of the Maryland General Assembly. Forty-seven members serve in the State Senate and serve four-year terms with no term limits. Each member represents an average of 122,842 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 112,691 residents.[2] The State Senate meets at its State Capitol in Annapolis and meets each year for 90 days to act on more than 2,500 bills including the State's annual budget[3].

As of April 2015, Maryland is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

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


Article III of the Maryland Constitution establishes when the Maryland General Assembly, of which the Senate is a part, 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.


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the General Assembly was in session from January 14 through April 13.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2015 legislative session included the state budget shortfall, expanding charter schools, marijuana decriminalization, fracking and heroin overdoses.[4]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature 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.[5]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature 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, repeal of the death penalty, and transportation funding.[6]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 11 to April 19.


In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 12 through April 8.[7] A special redistricting session was held from October 17 to October 20.[8][9]


In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 13 to April 10.[10]

Role in state budget

See also: Maryland state budget and finances
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The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[11][12]

  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.[12]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[12]

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 indicating 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. The challenges states faced included 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.[13]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

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.[14] 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.[14]

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 was 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.[15]



See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Maryland State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 24, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was February 25, 2014.


See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Maryland State Senate were held in Maryland on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was July 6, 2010 and the primary Election Day was on September 14, 2010.

Maryland's 47 state senators are elected to four-year terms. The elections are not staggered; rather, all 47 seats are up for election on a cycle of 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022, etc.

In 2010, the candidates running for State Senate raised a total of $9,313,367 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were:[16]


See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2006

Elections for the office of Maryland Senate consisted of a primary election on September 12, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $10,593,147. The top 10 contributors were:[17]


See also: Maryland State Senate elections, 2002

Elections for the office of Maryland Senate consisted of a primary election on September 10, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $9,071,191. The top 10 contributors were:[18]


Section 9 of Article 3 of the Maryland Constitution states, "A person is eligible to serve as a Senator or Delegate, who on the date of his election, (1) is a citizen of the State of Maryland, (2) has resided therein for at least one year next preceding that date, and (3) if the district which he has been chosen to represent has been established for at least six months prior to the date of his election, has resided in that district for six months next preceding that date.

If the district which the person has been chosen to represent has been established less than six months prior to the date of his election, then in addition to (1) and (2) above, he shall have resided in the district for as long as it has been established.

A person is eligible to serve as a Senator, if he has attained the age of twenty-five years, or as a Delegate, if he has attained the age of twenty-one years, on the date of his election.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
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The Governor is responsible for filling all vacancies in the senate.[19]

The Governor has 30 days after the vacancy to make an appointment based on the recommendations of the political party committee that holds the vacant seat. The political party committee has up to 30 days after the vacancy to submit a list of recommended candidates to the Governor. If the party committee fails to act within the 30 day deadline, the Governor has 15 days to appoint a person from the political party that last held the seat.[20]

The person appointed to the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term.[21]


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.[22]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland's population grew from 5.30 million to 5.77 million between 2000 and 2010.[23] 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.[24] The City of Baltimore lost population relative to other areas of the state.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28][29]



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).[30]


The President and President Pro Tem of the Senate are elected by the full body. The President appoints the majority leader. These two leaders then appoint the deputy majority leader and majority whip. Minority leaders are named by the minority party.[31]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Maryland State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic
President Pro Tempore Nathaniel McFadden Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Katherine Klausmeier Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Deputy Majority Leader Nancy King Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Lisa Gladden Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Jamie Raskin Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Deputy Majority Whip Jim Rosapepe Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Caucus Leader Douglas Peters Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Whip Stephen Hershey, Jr. Ends.png Republican

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 33
     Republican Party 14
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

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.

Current members

Current members, Maryland State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 George Edwards Ends.png Republican 2007
2 Andrew Serafini Ends.png Republican Feb. 2015
3 Ronald Young Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
4 Michael Hough Ends.png Republican 2015
5 Justin Ready Ends.png Republican Feb. 2015
6 Johnny Ray Salling Ends.png Republican 2015
7 J.B. Jennings Ends.png Republican 2011
8 Katherine Klausmeier Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
9 Gail Bates Ends.png Republican 2015
10 Delores Kelley Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
11 Robert Zirkin Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
12 Edward Kasemeyer Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
13 Guy Guzzone Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
14 Karen Montgomery Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
15 Brian Feldman Electiondot.png Democratic Sept. 2013
16 Susan Lee Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
17 Cheryl Kagan Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
18 Rich Madaleno Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
19 Roger Manno Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
20 Jamin B. Raskin Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
21 Jim Rosapepe Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
22 Paul Pinsky Electiondot.png Democratic 1994
23 Douglas Peters Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
24 Joanne Benson Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
25 Ulysses Currie Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
26 C. Anthony Muse Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
27 Mike Miller Electiondot.png Democratic 1975
28 Thomas Mac Middleton Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
29 Steve Waugh Ends.png Republican 2015
30 John Astle Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
31 Bryan Simonaire Ends.png Republican 2007
32 James DeGrange, Sr. Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
33 Edward R. Reilly Ends.png Republican 2009
34 Bob Cassilly Ends.png Republican 2015
35 H. Wayne Norman, Jr. Ends.png Republican 2015
36 Stephen Hershey, Jr. Ends.png Republican Oct. 2013
37 Adelaide Eckardt Ends.png Republican 2015
38 James Mathias, Jr. Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
39 Nancy King Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
40 Catherine Pugh Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
41 Lisa Gladden Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
42 James Brochin Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
43 Joan Carter Conway Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
44 Shirley Nathan-Pulliam Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
45 Nathaniel McFadden Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
46 Bill Ferguson Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
47 Victor Ramirez Electiondot.png Democratic 2011

Standing committees

Maryland State Senate
SLP badge.png
Senate Committees

Budget and Taxation
Education, Health and Environmental Affairs
Executive NominationsFinance
Judicial ProceedingsRules

Joint Committees
House Committees

The Maryland Senate has six (6) standing committees:


Unicameral to bicameral

The Maryland State Senate was officially split off from what then became the Maryland House of Delegates in 1650. It was known then as the "Upper House of the General Assembly" and consisted of the Governor of Maryland and his council of advisors. However, over the next 10 years, the bicameral legislative was unstable.

Two times, in 1654 and 1657, Puritan governors (appointed by Parlimentary Commissioners based in England), convened a unicameral legislature. In 1660, Maryland's Governor, Josias Fendall, officially abolished the upper house. This act was known as "Fendall's Rebellion" and was quickly overturned and the upper house resumed the composition it had been given in 1650 for a century, with the exception that in 1675 the governor was barred from taking a seat.

Length of terms

The Maryland Constitution of 1776 officially established the Senate and removed from it all members of the Governor's Council. That constitution also set the length of state Senate terms at five years.[32]

In 1838, a constitutional amendment was approved that changed the length of the term to six years.

The Constitution of 1851 reduced the length of the senatorial terms to four years, which remains in place.

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

During every year from 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Maryland State Senate. The Maryland State Senate is 1 of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Maryland was under Democratic trifectas 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.

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 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Maryland state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

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).

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001. Accessed February 13, 2014
  3. Maryland General Assembly, homepage," accessed June15, 2014
  4. The Washington Post, "As Md. legislative session nears, uncertainty about Hogan’s agenda," January 10, 2015
  5. washingtonpost.com, "10 things to watch in the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session," January 7, 2014
  6. Washington Post, "Maryland legislative session begins with bold predictions," January 9, 2013
  7. 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)
  8. Associated Press, "Md. special session anticipated in week of Oct. 17," July 6, 2011
  9. Maryland Department of Legislative Services, "Journal of Proceedings of the Senate of Maryland - 2011 Special Session," accessed June 15, 2014
  10. 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)
  11. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  13. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  15. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  16. Follow the Money, "Maryland 2010 - Candidates," accessed June 15, 2014
  17. Follow the Money, "Maryland 2006 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "Maryland 2002 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  19. Maryland State Archives, "Maryland Constitution," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Section, Article III, Section 13, Subsection (a)(1))
  20. Maryland State Archives, "Maryland Constitution," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Section, Article III, Section 13, Subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2))
  21. Maryland State Archives, "Maryland Constitution," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Section, Article III, Section 13, Subsection (a)(4))
  22. Maryland Department of Planning, "Redistricting FAQs," accessed June 16, 2011
  23. U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Maryland Profile," accessed June 25, 2014
  24. The Baltimore Sun, "Maryland population grows by 480,000, Census says," December 21, 2010
  25. Baltimore Sun, "Redistricting: Mighty Baltimore to lose influence," August 11, 2011
  26. WBAL, "Lawmakers To Let O'Malley Redistricting Plan Take Effect Without a Vote," accessed February 23, 2012
  27. Baltimore Sun, "Redistricting plan questioned after O'Malley adviser's conviction," December 22, 2011
  28. The Baltimore Sun, "Redistricting Map Foes Say They Have Passed First Test," May 31, 2012
  29. Southern Maryland Online, "Democratic Lawsuit Challenges GOP Petition Success," July 27, 2012
  30. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  31. Maryland State Archives, "Organizational Structure," accessed June 15, 2014
  32. Maryland State Archives, "History of the Maryland State Senate," accessed June 15, 2014