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Maryland Manual, 1989-90
Volume 184, Page 32   View pdf image (33K)
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Si/Maryland Manual

a weekly hearing schedule so that those interested
may testify for or against proposed legislation. The
Department of Fiscal Services prepares a fiscal anal-
ysis for each bill and these fiscal notes are considered
during committee deliberations. At the committee
hearing, testimony is usually heard from the bill's
sponsor and other proponents and opponents of
the bill. Testimony and further consideration may
result in amendments to the bill made by the com-
mittee. The final vote of the committee is recorded
by member, and may be favorable (with or without
amendment), unfavorable, or without recommen-
dation. Having been "voted out of committee, '' the
bill now returns to the floor of its chamber of origin
accompanied by a report of committee action.

After consideration of committee amendments,
the bill is then open to amendment from the floor.
There, committee action may be reversed, although
this happens infrequently.

Second reading is completed when the presiding
officer orders the bill, with any adopted amend-
ments, printed for third reading. No amendments
may be presented on third reading. In the chamber
of origin, a recorded vote is taken to pass or reject
the bill. To pass, the bill must receive a majority vote
of the elected membership.

The bill then passes over to the opposite cham-
ber, has its first reading, and is assigned to a com-
mittee for a hearing. The procedure followed is
identical with that of the chamber in which the bill
originated, except that amendments may be pro-
posed during second and third readings. If not
amended in the second chamber, final passage may
occur without reprinting.

If amended in the second chamber, the bill is
returned to the chamber of origin so that house may
consider the amendments. If the chamber of origin
votes to concur with the amendments, the bill is
voted on as amended and action is complete. The
bill is reprinted, or "enrolled", with the added
amendments before being submitted to the Gover-
nor.

If the chamber of origin votes to reject the
amendments, the amending chamber may be asked
to withdraw its amendments. If it refuses, either
chamber may request that a conference committee
be appointed to resolve the differences between the
two chambers.

Appointed by the Senate President and the
House Speaker, a conference committee consists of
three members of each house. The committee re-
ports back to both chambers where its recommen-
dations are adopted or rejected without
amendment. If the report is adopted, the bill is
voted upon for final passage in each house. If the
report is rejected by either house, the bill fails.

All bills passed by the General Assembly become
law when signed by the Governor, or when passed
over the Governor's veto by three-fifths of the
membership of each house. According to the Con-
stitution, laws thus approved take effect on the first
day of June after the session in which they were
passed, except when a later date is specified in the
act, or the bill is declared an emergency measure.
Most bills now take effect July 1. Emergency bills,
passed by three-fifths of the total number of mem-
bers of each house, become law immediately upon
their approval by the Governor.

All bills, except the budget bill and constitu-
tional amendments, must be presented to the Gov-
ernor within twenty days following adjournment of
a session. The Governor may veto such bills within
thirty days after presentation. If the Governor does
not veto a bill, it becomes law. The budget bill,
however, becomes law upon its final passage and
cannot be vetoed. Constitutional amendments also
cannot be vetoed; they become law only upon
ratification by the voters at the next general elec-
tion.

The power to override a veto rests with the
General Assembly If the Governor vetoes a bill
during a regular session, the General Assembly
immediately considers the Governor's veto mes-
sage. If the Governor vetoes a bill presented after
the session, the veto message must be considered
immediately at the next regular or special session of
the legislature. The General Assembly may not
override a veto during the first year of a new term
since the bill would have been passed by the previ-
ous legislature (Const., Art. II, sec. 17). A three-
fifths vote of the elected membership of both
chambers is necessary to override a veto.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON THE STATUS
OF BILLS

Elected Officials. A constituent's State Senator
or Delegate or the bill's sponsor often are the most
effective sources of information on the status of a
bill.

Department of Legislative Reference. The Library
and Information Services Division of the Depart-
ment of Legislative Reference answers any request
for information about the status of a bill.

Library
.....................................Baltimore area: 841-3810
.............................................D. C. area: 858-3810
..............Other areas: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3810
..............................TDD for Deaf: 841/858-3814

Information Desk, State House (ground floor)
.....................................Baltimore area: 841-3886
.............................................D. C. area: 858-3886
..............Other areas: 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3886
..............................TDD for Deaf: 841/858-3814



 
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Maryland Manual, 1989-90
Volume 184, Page 32   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
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