Maryland House of Delegates

Last updated

Maryland House of Delegates
Maryland General Assembly
Term limits
New session started
January 9, 2019
since April 7, 2019
Speaker pro Tempore
Adrienne A. Jones (D)
since January 8, 2003
Majority Leader
Kathleen Dumais (D)
since January 7, 2019
Minority Leader
Nicholaus R. Kipke (R)
since May 1, 2013
House of Representatives diagram 2014 State of Maryland.svg
Political groups


Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle III, Section 2, Maryland Constitution
Salary$43,500/year + per diem
Last election
November 4, 2014
(141 seats)
Next election
November 6, 2018
(141 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative Control
Meeting place
House of Delegates Chamber
Maryland State House
Annapolis, Maryland
Maryland House of Delegates

The Maryland House of Delegates is the lower house of the legislature of the State of Maryland. It consists of 141 delegates elected from 47 districts. The House of Delegates Chamber is in the Maryland State House on State Circle in Annapolis, the state capital. The State House also houses the Maryland State Senate Chamber and the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the State of Maryland. Each delegate has offices in Annapolis, in the nearby Casper R. Taylor Jr. House Office Building.

Maryland General Assembly legislative body of the State of Maryland, United States

The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland that convenes within the State House in Annapolis. It is a bicameral body: the upper chamber, the Maryland State Senate, has 47 representatives and the lower chamber, the Maryland House of Delegates, has 141 representatives. 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.

Maryland State House houses the Maryland General Assembly

The Maryland State House is located in Annapolis, Maryland as the oldest U.S. state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating to 1772 and housing the Maryland General Assembly, plus the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The capitol has the distinction of being topped by the largest wooden dome in the United States constructed without nails. The current building, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, is the third statehouse on its site. The building is administered by the State House Trust, established in 1969.

Annapolis, Maryland Capital of Maryland

Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and about 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C., Annapolis is part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. Its population was measured at 38,394 by the 2010 census.



17th century origins

The Maryland House of Delegates originated as the Lower House of the General Assembly of the Province of Maryland in 1650, during the time when it was an English colony, when the Assembly (legislature) became a bicameral body. [1] The Lower House often fought with the Upper House for political influence in the colony. The Upper House consisted of the Governor and his Council, all personally appointed by Lord Baltimore and Proprietor of the Province, and thus tended to protect his interests in Maryland. Conversely, the Lower House tended to push for political change in the colony, claiming to be the true elected representatives of the people.

Province of Maryland English, from 1707, British, possession in North America between 1664 and 1776

The Province of Maryland was an English and later British colony in North America that existed from 1632 until 1776, when it joined the other twelve of the Thirteen Colonies in rebellion against Great Britain and became the U.S. state of Maryland. Its first settlement and capital was St. Mary's City, in the southern end of St. Mary's County, which is a peninsula in the Chesapeake Bay and is also bordered by four tidal rivers.

In this context, the Lower House continually fought for more power by asserting exclusive rights in certain legislative areas, such as levying taxes and originating money bills. This reflected similar attitudes in the other colonies on the East Coast of North America with the beginnings and growth of representative government during the 17th century, as each province's representatives constantly agitated for more rights, powers, and respect from the Proprietors, Governors, and even the King and Parliament in London.

The Governor also had some measure of control over the Lower House in the late seventeenth century. Despite the fact that each county was entitled to elect four delegates, the governor selected only two of these to sit in the Lower House. This enabled the Governor to control the Lower House's membership.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States, an administrative or political subdivision of a state is a county, which is a region having specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs respectively.

In 1689, the transfer of Maryland from a proprietary colony to a royal colony temporarily quieted the disputes between the Lower House and the Governor and Council. Appointed by the crown, the royal governors allowed the Lower House substantial latitude with its legislative agenda. The first General Assembly under Royal Authority, in 1692, passed 85 acts in a single session. The Lower House immediately acted to remove the Governor's influence over the election of delegates. Now, elected delegates could attend the session without the need for a special writ from the Governor. At the same time, standing or continuing committees were established. These eliminated the Lower House's reliance on ad hoc committees and created the first modern legislature in Maryland. During this period, the Lower House became known as the "House of Delegates".

Proprietary colony type of British colony especially in North America and the Caribbean in the 17th century

A proprietary colony was a type of British colony mostly in North America and the Caribbean in the 17th century. In the British Empire, all land belonged to the ruler, and it was his prerogative to divide. Therefore, all colonial properties were partitioned by royal charter into one of four types: proprietary, royal, joint stock, or covenant. King Charles II used the proprietary solution to reward allies and focus his own attention on Britain itself. He offered his friends colonial charters which facilitated private investment and colonial self-government. The charters made the proprietor the effective ruler, albeit one ultimately responsible to English Law and the King. Charles II gave New Netherland to his younger brother The Duke of York, who named it New York. He gave an area to William Penn who named it Pennsylvania.

18th century

The Maryland Constitution of 1776 formally established the modern House of Delegates. Initially, representation was based on geography as the voters of each county elected four delegates, and two each were elected from the towns of Annapolis and Baltimore. [1] These delegates served one-year terms (increased to two years in 1845, and four years in 1922, as it is today).

Maryland Constitution of 1776 first constitution adopted by the state of Maryland

The Maryland Constitution of 1776 was the first of four constitutions under which the U.S. state of Maryland has been governed. It was that state's basic law from its adoption in 1776 until the Maryland Constitution of 1851 took effect on July 4 of that year.

Baltimore Largest city in Maryland

Baltimore is the largest city in the state of Maryland within the United States. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1729. With a population of 611,648 in 2017, Baltimore is the largest such independent city in the United States. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.808 million, making it the 20th largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2017 population of 9,764,315.

19th century

Beginning with the 1838 elections, each county elected at least three and up to six delegates depending on its population. Baltimore City elected the same number of delegates as did the most populous county, but after 1840, the Town of Annapolis was then considered part of Anne Arundel County. Reapportionment was required after every federal census in an attempt to achieve equal representation.

Modern era

The current pattern for distribution of seats in the House of Delegates began with the legislative apportionment plan of 1972 and has been revised every ten years thereafter. The plan created 47 legislative districts, many of which cross county boundaries to delineate districts relatively equal in population. Each legislative district sends three delegates for a total of 141 members of the House. Some of the larger districts are divided into delegate sub-districts to provide local representation to areas not large enough to constitute an entire legislative district. [1]

Powers and functions

The powers and functions of the Maryland House of Delegates are outlined in the Maryland Constitution. Along with the State Senate, the House has the power to approve laws, establish executive departments, levy taxes, and propose state constitutional amendments. Both houses also have the power to elect the state treasurer and to appoint a new Governor if the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor are simultaneously vacant. In addition, the House of Delegates has the sole power to impeach members of the executive branch, including the Governor. Once the House of Delegates has passed articles of impeachment, the person impeached stands trial before the State Senate.


The House of Delegates utilizes a number of different organizational structures. Much of the work of drafting and reviewing bills is done by six standing committees: Appropriations, Economic Matters, Environment and Transportation, Health and Government Operations, Judiciary, and Ways and Means. Each of these committees is then divided further into sub-committees by issue area. An additional continuing committee, Executive Nominations, has the responsibility for confirming appointments of the Governor. Delegates also divide themselves into a variety of legally recognized work groups, Joint and Special Committees, caucuses, and geographic delegations. The two largest caucuses are those of the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Smaller caucuses might group Delegates by identity, such as the Women's Caucus, [2] notably the first women's legislative caucus founded in the United States. [3] The Asian-American and Pacific Islander caucus, [4] or Legislative Black Caucus are other examples. Delegates may also organize by issue or area of experience, such as the Veterans' Caucus [5] . In addition, delegates from a certain county, smaller towns, or Baltimore City might organize its delegate delegation into a caucus-style group, such as the Baltimore City Delegation or the Western Maryland Delegation.


(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Grn Ind Vacant
2007–2010 Session1043601 [6] 1410
2011–2014 Session9843001410
2015–2018 Session [7] 9150001410
October 15, 2018 [8] 9249001410
November 19, 2018 [9] 9149101410
2019–2022 Session9942001410
Latest voting share70.2%29.8%


Current leadership in the Maryland House of Delegates. [10]

Speaker of the House Vacant
Speaker Pro Tempore Adrienne A. Jones (November 2007).jpg Adrienne A. Jones Democratic 10
Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais Democratic 15
Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (2007).jpg Talmadge Branch Democratic 45
Minority Leader Nic Kipke (2007).jpg Nicholaus R. Kipke Republican 31B
Minority Whip 1szeliga.jpg Kathy Szeliga Republican 7

Past composition of the House of Delegates

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Maryland State Archives (June 17, 2004). "Maryland House of Delegates – ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS" . Retrieved June 12, 2007.
  2. "Maryland General Assembly Caucuses - Women Legislators of Maryland".
  3. Maryland State archives, accessed June 30, 2017
  4. "Maryland General Assembly Caucuses - Maryland Legislative Asian-American & Pacific-Islander Caucus".
  5. "Maryland General Assembly Caucuses - Maryland Veterans Caucus".
  6. For organizational purposes, the Independent caucused with the Republicans.
  7. The Baltimore Sun (November 5, 2014). "Republicans ride GOP wave to gain General Assembly seats" . Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  8. "Anne Arundel delegate who came out as bisexual during conversion therapy debate changes parties". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  9. "OUTGOING DELEGATE SWITCHES TO GREEN PARTY". The Montgomery County Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  10. Maryland Manual On-Line (March 3, 2017). "Maryland House of Delegates – Organizational Structure" . Retrieved April 19, 2017.