Maryland House of Delegates

Last updated

Maryland House of Delegates
Maryland General Assembly
Term limits
New session started
January 9, 2019
Adrienne Jones (D)
since May 1, 2019
Speaker pro Tempore
Sheree Sample-Hughes (D)
since September 9, 2019
Majority Leader
Eric Luedtke (D)
since September 9, 2019
Minority Leader
Nic Kipke (R)
since May 1, 2013
Maryland House of Delegates.svg
Political groups
  •    Democratic (99)


Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle III, Section 2, Maryland Constitution
Salary$50,330/year [1]
Last election
November 6, 2018
(141 seats)
Next election
November 8, 2022
(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.



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. [2] 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.

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.

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".

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. [2] These delegates served one-year terms (increased to two years in 1845, and four years in 1922, as it is today).

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. [2] In a special session on May 1, 2019, Delegate Adrienne Jones became the first woman and the first African American to be elected Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. [3]

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, [4] notably the first women's legislative caucus founded in the United States. [5] The Asian-American and Pacific Islander caucus, [6] or Legislative Black Caucus are other examples. Delegates may also organize by issue or area of experience, such as the Veterans' Caucus. [7] 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 [8] 1410
2011–2014 Session9843001410
2015–2018 Session [9] 9150001410
October 15, 2018 [10] 9249001410
November 19, 2018 [11] 9149101410
2019–2022 Session9942001410
Latest voting share


Current leadership in the Maryland House of Delegates. [12]

Speaker of the House Adrienne A. Jones (November 2007).jpg Adrienne A. Jones Democratic 10
Speaker Pro Tempore Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes.jpg Sheree Sample-Hughes Democratic 37A
Majority Leader Eric Luedtke Headshot.jpg Eric Luedtke Democratic 14
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

Related Research Articles

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 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.

Government of Maryland

The government of Maryland is conducted according to the Maryland Constitution. The United States is a federation; consequently, the government of Maryland, like the other 49 state governments, has exclusive authority over matters that lie entirely within the state's borders, except as limited by the Constitution of the United States.

Maryland Senate

The Maryland Senate, sometimes referred to as the Maryland State Senate, is the upper house of the General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland. Composed of 47 senators elected from an equal number of constituent single-member districts, the Senate is responsible, along with the Maryland House of Delegates, for passage of laws in Maryland, and for confirming executive appointments made by the Governor of Maryland.

Justin Ross American politician

Justin D. Ross is an American politician who served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2003 to 2012. He was first elected to the House in 2002 to represent District 22, which covers Prince George's County.

Curt Anderson American politician, lawyer and former broadcast journalist

Curtis Stovall Anderson is an American politician, lawyer and former broadcast journalist. He was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1983, is the chairman of the Baltimore City Delegation, and past chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. After serving 12 years, he was elected again in 2002. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1992 (Clinton) and 2008 (Obama).

Steven R. Schuh is a former County Executive of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, serving two terms in the Maryland General Assembly representing District 31. Schuh was elected County Executive in 2014 after defeating incumbent Laura Neuman in the Republican primary and defeating former three-term Sheriff George Johnson in the General Election. He is the ninth Anne Arundel County Executive. He was defeated in his bid for re-election in 2018 by Steuart Pittman.

Robert A. Costa

Robert A. Costa was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, and until his retirement represented District 33B, which is located in Anne Arundel County. He defeated Democrat Mike Shay in the 2006 election. In 2002 he defeated Democrat Dotty Chaney to initially capture the seat of this newly created district. He announced his retirement in 2014. He was succeeded by Sid Saab, real estate investor and the first member of the Maryland General Assembly to have been born in Lebanon.

Baltimore City Delegation

The Baltimore City Delegation refers to the 18 delegates who are elected from districts in Baltimore to serve in the Maryland House of Delegates in the United States. There are currently 6 legislative districts in Baltimore City with each having 3 delegates. The chairman of the delegation is chosen via an open ballot by the members of the delegation and usually serves for four years. The delegation usually meets weekly during the regular session of the Maryland General Assembly in the Baltimore City Delegation Room of the Lowe House Office Building in Annapolis. During the legislative interim, May through December, the delegation meets on an as needed basis.

Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland

The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Inc. is an American political organization composed of African Americans elected to the Maryland General Assembly. Incorporated in 1970, the Caucus membership has grown from 17 to 58 and is one of the largest state legislative black caucuses in the country.

Anne Arundel County Delegation

The Anne Arundel County Delegation refers to the members of the Maryland House of Delegates who reside in or represent legislative districts that are made of all or parts of Anne Arundel County, Maryland in the United States of America. Three delegates are elected from each district, though some districts are divided into sub-districts.

Alfred C. Carr Jr. American politician

Alfred Clinton Carr Jr. is an American politician from Maryland and a member of the Democratic Party. He is currently serving in his third term in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing Maryland's District 18 in Montgomery County.

Herbert H. McMillan

Herbert H. McMillan is a Republican former member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing District 30 in Anne Arundel County, MD from 2003 to 2007 and from 2011 to 2019. He served alongside Democrat Michael E. Busch and Republican Ron George. In 2006 he challenged District 30 Senator John Astle, a Democrat, who defeated him 53 percent to 47 percent.

Luke Clippinger

Luke Clippinger is an American politician and lawyer from Maryland. A Democrat, he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2010, representing the state's 46th district in Baltimore. He took office on January 12, 2011.

Kathy Szeliga

Kathy Szeliga is an American politician who has served as a Republican member of the Maryland House of Delegates since January 12, 2011, and as Minority Whip since 2013. Szeliga was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in 2016 to replace Barbara Mikulski, who retired.

Pat Young

Patrick Young Jr. is an American politician from Maryland. He currently represents District 44B in the Maryland House of Delegates and serves as the Chair of the Baltimore County House Delegation.

Lesley Lopez is an American politician who was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in the 2018 Maryland General Assembly election. With Kirill Reznik and Gabriel Acevero, she represents the 39th House District as a member of the Democratic Party.

Shaneka Henson American politician

Shaneka T. Henson is a Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates appointed in May 2019 to replace the late Michael E. Busch. In October 2019 House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones assigned Henson to serve on the appropriations committee led by Baltimore Democrat Del. Maggie McIntosh.

Stephanie M. Smith

Stephanie M. Smith is an American politician who currently serves in the Maryland House of Delegates. Delegate Smith represents the 45th Legislative District of the state of Maryland which is located in east Baltimore City.

Alice J. Cain is a Democratic politician and education policy expert who was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 30A in Anne Arundel County from January 2019 to March 2020.


  1. "Report of the General Assembly Compensation Commission" (PDF). Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 Maryland State Archives (June 17, 2004). "Maryland House of Delegates – ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS" . Retrieved June 12, 2007.
  3. "Baltimore County Del. Adrienne Jones elected speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates". The Baltimore Sun . May 1, 2019.
  4. "Maryland General Assembly Caucuses - Women Legislators of Maryland".
  5. Maryland State archives, accessed June 30, 2017
  6. "Maryland General Assembly Caucuses - Maryland Legislative Asian-American & Pacific-Islander Caucus".
  7. "Maryland General Assembly Caucuses - Maryland Veterans Caucus".
  8. For organizational purposes, the Independent caucused with the Republicans.
  9. The Baltimore Sun (November 5, 2014). "Republicans ride GOP wave to gain General Assembly seats" . Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  10. "Anne Arundel delegate who came out as bisexual during conversion therapy debate changes parties". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  11. "OUTGOING DELEGATE SWITCHES TO GREEN PARTY". The Montgomery County Sentinel. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  12. Maryland Manual On-Line (March 3, 2017). "Maryland House of Delegates – Organizational Structure" . Retrieved April 19, 2017.

Further reading

Legislative District Maps, which are updated every ten years