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Index to the Debates of the Constitutional Convention of Maryland, 1967-1968
Volume 85, Page 48   View pdf image (33K)
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48/Constitutional Commission and Convention

INTRODUCTION

PATRICIA M. VANORNY
HISTORY

As the one-hundredth anniversary of the Constitution of 1867 approached,
many Marylanders advocated the need to undertake a major revision.1 The attorney
general in an opinion dated February 9, 1965, advised that the General Assembly
had the authority to call a convention to revise the constitution or to submit to the
electorate a referendum on holding a convention. Thus, Governor J. Millard Tawes
recommended that the General Assembly provide for a commission to study the con-
stitution, recommend changes, and plan for a convention. Although the General
Assembly failed to pass a resolution on the matter, Governor Tawes on June 16,
1965, established the Constitutional Convention Commission by executive order and
appointed twenty-seven persons as members. On July 1 he designated former
Governor William Preston Lane, Jr., as honorary chairman and H. Vernon Eney as
chairman.

After reviewing the 1867 constitution, the commission in September 1965 rec-
ommended a complete revision and the convening of a convention to undertake the
revision. At its 1966 session the General Assembly passed and the governor signed
bills calling for a constitutional convention, subject to referendum by the electorate.

While these events were taking place, the commission continued to review pro-
posals for constitutional revision by conducting studies and holding public meetings
and hearings during 1965 and 1966. During the first few months of 1967 the commis-
sion concentrated on composing a draft constitution and accompanying commen-
tary, which were printed in an interim report dated May 26, 1967. The commission's
final report was produced on August 25, 1967.

In order to implement the work of the commission, a staff was assembled and
members were organized into ten committees. The chairman was the chief executive
and presiding officer. Administrative duties were delegated to an executive director.
Other full-time personnel included secretaries and an assistant to the director.
Reporters were employed to assist the committees in preparing drafts, minutes, and
reports. Research assistants were used to conduct research projects.

Seven of the convention committees were assigned specific topics and sections
of the constitution. The Committee on Elective Franchise and Declaration of Rights
considered sections of the constitution dealing with elections and voting rights and
most sections of the Declaration of Rights. The Committee on the Executive Depart-
ment considered sections of the Declaration of Rights and constitution dealing with
offices of the executive branch of state government. The Committee on the Judici-

1 The following history of the Constitutional Convention Commission is based on information from its
records and the letter of transmittal and introduction in the Report of the Constitutional Convention
Commission (Annapolis: Constitutional Convention Commission, 1967). The history of the Constitu-
tional Convention of 1967 is based partially on information from its records. Most of the material, how-
ever, is taken from Sherrod E. East, Records of the Constitutional Convention of Maryland, 1967-1968:
A Descriptive Inventory. His expertly written Inventory aptly describes the work and organization of the
convention, the duties and responsibilities of the officers and committees, and the contents of record
series.



 
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Index to the Debates of the Constitutional Convention of Maryland, 1967-1968
Volume 85, Page 48   View pdf image (33K)
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