The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S state of Maryland. It is a bicameral body consisting of the upper house, the Maryland State Senate, and the lower house, the Maryland House of Delegates. The General Assembly meets each year for 90 days to act on more than 2300 bills including the State’s annual budget. 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.
A House Bill (HB) is one introduced in the House of Delegates (for example: HB 6) and a Senate Bill (SB), in the Senate. An ordinary bill needs a majority vote to pass. An emergency bill requires a two-thirds vote, a bill requiring the Maryland Constitution to be amended requires a three-fifths vote.
The Maryland General Assembly meets within the State House in Annapolis.
The Maryland State Senate is the upper house of the General Assembly and is composed of 47 senators elected from single-member districts.
The Maryland House of Delegates is the lower house of the General Assembly and is composed of 141 Delegates elected from 47 districts.
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.
The Senate is presided over by a President and the House by a Speaker. 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. As legislation is introduced, the President and the Speaker assign it to a standing committee for consideration and a public hearing. The President pro tempore appoints majority and minority whips and leaders.
In order to become a member of the Maryland General Assembly, a person
- must be a citizen of Maryland
- must be a resident for at least one year preceding his or her election.
- 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 25 years of age at the time of election and a delegate at least 21.
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.