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Article XIV, Maryland Constitution

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Declaration of RightsIIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXI-AXI-BXI-CXI-DXI-EXI-FXI-GXI-HXI-IXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIX

Article XIV of the Maryland Constitution is entitled Amendments to the Constitution and consists of three sections which together define how the constitution can be amended.

First, constitutional amendment can be accomplished via a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. Placing such a proposed amendment on the ballot must be approved by a 60% vote of each chamber of the Maryland State Legislature.

Second, the constitution can be amended via a constitutional convention.

  • Section 2 of Article 14 says that an automatic ballot referral to ask the voters of the state whether they wish to convene a statewide constitutional convention must be placed on the statewide ballot every twenty years starting in 1970.

Article XIV allows for the possibility that some proposed constitutional amendments may apply to only one county (or the City of Baltimore, which is governed independently of a county structure). In this case, Article XIV says that in order to become part of the constitution, the proposed amendment must be approved by a majority vote not just statewide, but specifically in the county (or Baltimore) to which it exclusively applies.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

The General Assembly may propose Amendments to this Constitution; provided that each Amendment shall be embraced in a separate bill, embodying the Article or Section, as the same will stand when amended and passed by three-fifths of all the members elected to each of the two Houses, by yeas and nays, to be entered on the Journals with the proposed Amendment. The requirement in this section that an amendment proposed by the General Assembly shall be embraced in a separate bill shall not be construed or applied to prevent the General Assembly from (1) proposing in one bill a series of amendments to the Constitution of Maryland for the general purpose of removing or correcting constitutional provisions which are obsolete, inaccurate, invalid, unconstitutional, or duplicative; or (2) embodying in a single Constitutional amendment one or more Articles of the Constitution so long as that Constitutional amendment embraces only a single subject. The bill or bills proposing amendment or amendments shall be publicized, either by publishing, by order of the Governor, in at least two newspapers, in each County, where so many may be published, and where not more than one may be published, then in that newspaper, and in three newspapers published in the City of Baltimore, once a week for four weeks, or as otherwise ordered by the Governor in a manner provided by law, immediately preceding the next ensuing general election, at which the proposed amendment or amendments shall be submitted, in a form to be prescribed by the General Assembly, to the qualified voters of the State for adoption or rejection. The votes cast for and against said proposed amendment or amendments, severally, shall be returned to the Governor, in the manner prescribed in other cases, and if it shall appear to the Governor that a majority of the votes cast at said election on said amendment or amendments, severally, were cast in favor thereof, the Governor shall, by his proclamation, declare the said amendment or amendments having received said majority of votes, to have been adopted by the people of Maryland as part of the Constitution thereof, and thenceforth said amendment or amendments shall be part of the said Constitution. If the General Assembly determines that a proposed Constitutional amendment affects only one county or the City of Baltimore, the proposed amendment shall be part of the Constitution if it receives a majority of the votes cast in the State and in the affected county or City of Baltimore, as the case may be. When two or more amendments shall be submitted to the voters of this State at the same election, they shall be so submitted as that each amendment shall be voted on separately.

(amended by Chapter 476, Acts of 1943, ratified Nov. 7, 1944; Chapter 367, Acts of 1972, ratified Nov. 7, 1972; Chapter 679, Acts of 1977, and Chapter 975, Acts of 1978, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

Section 1A

Text of Section 1A:

A proposed Constitutional amendment which, by provisions that are of limited duration, provides for a period of transition, or a unique schedule under which the terms of the amendment are to become effective, shall set forth those provisions in the amendment as a section or sections of a separate article, to be known as "provisions of limited duration", and state the date upon which or the circumstances under which those provisions shall expire. If the Constitutional amendment is adopted, those provisions of limited duration shall have the same force and effect as any other part of the Constitution, except that they shall remain a part of the Constitution only so long as their terms require. Each new section of the article known as "provisions of limited duration" shall refer to the title and section of the other article of the Constitution of which it, temporarily, is a part.

(added by Chapter 680, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide by Law for taking, at the general election to be held in the year nineteen hundred and seventy, and every twenty years thereafter, the sense of the People in regard to calling a Convention for altering this Constitution; and if a majority of voters at such election or elections shall vote for a Convention, the General Assembly, at its next session, shall provide by Law for the assembling of such convention, and for the election of Delegates thereto. Each County, and Legislative District of the City of Baltimore, shall have in such Convention a number of Delegates equal to its representation in both Houses at the time at which the Convention is called. But any Constitution, or change, or amendment of the existing Constitution, which may be adopted by such Convention, shall be submitted to the voters of this State, and shall have no effect unless the same shall have been adopted by a majority of the voters voting thereon.

(amended by Chapter 99, Acts of 1956, ratified Nov. 6, 1956).

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