Maryland’s present constitution, the state’s fourth, was adopted in 1867. Previous state constitutions had been adopted in 1776, 1851, an 1864. A proposed amendment to the constitution must initially be approved by three-fifths of the membership of each house of the state legislature. To be adopted, the amendment must then be approved by a majority of the electorate voting on it in a general election. Amendments may also be proposed by specific constitutional conventions.
The chief executive, the governor, is elected to a four-year term and may serve no more than two terms in succession. The governor has wide appointive powers, which extend to choosing many county, as well as state, administrative officials. The governor may veto proposed legislation, but the state legislature can override his veto by a three-fifths majority vote in each house. Other elected officials in the executive are the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, and the comptroller of the treasury, all of whom serve four-year terms.
The state legislature, officially called the General Assembly, consists of a Senate of 47 members and a House of Delegates of 141 members. All legislators are elected to four-year terms. The general assembly convenes annually in January for 90-day sessions, which can be extended by approval of a supermajority of the legislature. The governor may call special sessions.
The court of appeals is composed of a chief judge and six judges. The court of special appeals is made up of a chief judge and 12 judges. Circuit courts include the circuit court of Baltimore City, known as the supreme bench of Baltimore. Judges of the two appellate courts serve 10-year terms and the circuit court justices serve 15-year terms. Initially they are appointed by the governor. Then, after at least one year’s service, the judges run on a nonpartisan ballot, frequently unopposed, for full terms.
The governor appoints the chief judges of the appellate courts and the chief judge of each judicial circuit. Lower state courts include district courts and orphans’ courts.
There are 23 counties in Maryland, of which 15 are governed by boards of county commissioners. The others are administered by county councils. County commissioners and county council members also are elected to four-year terms, as are treasurers, circuit court clerks, registers of wills, state’s attorneys, sheriffs, and surveyors. Most other county administrative officials and board members are appointed either by the governor or by the county government. The city of Baltimore is administratively independent of any county. Most of the municipalities in Maryland, including Baltimore, have the mayor and council system of municipal government. Many large unincorporated suburban communities in the state are administered directly by the county governments. "Maryland" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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