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Maryland Manual, 1989-90
Volume 184, Page 31   View pdf image (33K)
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Legislature/31
THE PROGRESS OF A BILL

placed on each consent calendar. The consent cal-
endar is a list of bills to be read and voted upon as
a group (Const., Art. II, sec. 17; Art. Ill, secs. 27,
28). This procedure greatly expedites the legislative
process. In 1988, the Senate revised its rules to
place bills and joint resolutions on consent calen-
dars by category as they are voted out of committee
(Senate Rule 55). The House of Delegates still
retains a Consent Calendars Committee to deter-
mine which bills and joint resolutions may be in-
cluded on consent calendars (House Rules 18 and
55).

The Constitution also provides for an annual
budget bill. Each year, the Governor presents a bill
to the General Assembly containing the budget for
State government for the next fiscal year. The bud-
get bill, however supplemented or amended, must
be balanced; total estimated revenues always must
be equal to or exceed total appropriations (Const.,
Art. Ill, sec. 52(5a)). If the General Assembly has
not acted upon the budget bill seven days before
the expiration of a regular session, the Governor, by
proclamation, may extend the session as necessary
for action to be taken on the bill. After both houses
pass the budget bill, it becomes law without further
action (Const., Art. Ill, sec. 52).

Bills may be introduced throughout the ninety
days of a session, but the later a bill is introduced,
the more difficult its passage becomes. Any Senate

bill introduced after the 24th calendar day of a
session must be referred to the Senate Rules Com-
mittee, cannot be required to be returned to the
floor except by a two-thirds vote of the member-
ship, and may not be petitioned from committee
(Senate Rule 32). A House bill introduced after the
45th calendar day must be referred to the House
Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, re-
quires a two-thirds vote to be returned to the floor,
and cannot be petitioned from committee (House
Rule 32). For a bill to be introduced during the last
35 days of a session, the rules must be suspended
by a two-thirds vote (Const., Art. Ill, sec. 27).
Except for the annual budget bill and bills creating
or amending State debts, a House bill that crosses
over to the Senate after the 76th day of session is
subject to the same restrictions as is a bill introduced
after the 24th day.

The committee system is a vital part of the
legislative machinery. Rules of each house require
that every bill or joint resolution, with one excep-
tion, be referred to a standing committee after first
reading (Senate Rule 33; House Rule 33). Bills
having a purely local impact are referred to select
committees composed of the local delegation or the
local Senators. The fate of most legislative propos-
als is determined in committee. Committees are
required to hold a public hearing on each bill or
joint resolution assigned to them. During session,
the Department of Legislative Reference publishes



 

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Maryland Manual, 1989-90
Volume 184, Page 31   View pdf image (33K)
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