State House
Annapolis, MD 21401


During the colonial period, Maryland's Proprietors - the Lords Baltimore - designated who would serve as governor on their behalf. From 1692 to 1715, when Maryland briefly was a royal colony, the Crown appointed the governor. Lord Baltimore regained control of Maryland in 1715 and chose a governor for the colony until the American Revolution. Under Maryland's first constitution of 1776, the Governor was chosen annually by joint ballot of both houses of the General Assembly (Const. 1776, sec. 25). In 1838, by constitutional amendment, voters began to elect the Governor every three years from one of three rotating gubernatorial districts (Chapter 197, Acts of 1836, ratified 1837). At each election, only voters from a single gubernatorial election district selected the governor. By 1851, the Governor's term of office was lengthened to four years (Const. 1851, Art. 2, sec. 1). The Constitution of 1864 eliminated the rotating gubernatorial election districts. Since the election of 1868, the Governor has been elected by all the voters of the State.

The Governor is chief executive officer of the State and commander-in-chief of its military forces. Elected by popular vote for a term of four years, the Governor takes office on the third Wednesday of January following election. No person may serve as Governor for more than two consecutive terms. To be eligible for the office of Governor, a person must be at least thirty years of age and must have been a resident and registered voter of the State for five years immediately preceding election (Const., Art. II, secs. 1, 3, 5, 8, 21, 21A).

To each annual session of the General Assembly, the Governor must submit a budget of government for the following fiscal year. The Governor also may inform the General Assembly at any time of the condition of the State (Const., Art. II, sec. 19; Art. III, sec. 52(3)). Most commonly, this occurs through a State-of-the-State address at the beginning of a regular legislative session.

Every bill passed by the General Assembly, except the annual budget bill, must be presented to the Governor before it becomes law. The Governor may sign the bill into law or veto it. Any bill that the Governor vetoes may be passed without his signature by three-fifths vote of the total number of members of each house of the General Assembly, either at the current session or at the session following. If a bill is presented more than six days before the General Assembly adjourns and is not vetoed within six days, or if a bill is presented within six days prior to the adjournment of the General Assembly and is not vetoed within thirty days after its presentment, then the bill becomes law without the Governor's signature. The Governor may veto any part of an appropriations bill, in the same manner as other bills, without vetoing it in its entirety (Const., Art. II, sec. 17; Art. III, sec. 52(6)).

The Governor is commander-in-chief of the military forces of the State - the National Guard - except when such forces are called into the national service. If the National Guard is called, the Governor may establish a State Guard.

The Governor appoints all military and civil officers of the State subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, except when the election or appointment of such officers otherwise is provided for. In addition to appointing the heads of major departments, boards, and commissions of the State government, the Governor appoints certain boards and commissions in each county and the City of Baltimore, as provided for by law. The Governor also commissions notaries public and appoints persons to fill vacancies in the offices of Attorney General, Comptroller, and seats in the General Assembly. Any officer appointed by the Governor, except a member of the General Assembly, is removable by him for cause.

The Governor may grant pardons to persons convicted of criminal acts against the State, commute the sentences of prisoners of the State, and remit fines and forfeitures for offenses against the State. The Governor may extradite prisoners or persons wanted by other states upon the presentation of a writ of extradition and may issue a warrant for the arrest of any person so wanted. The Governor also may ask for the return to this State of any prisoner or person of another state wanted for the violation of the laws of Maryland (Const., Art. II, sec. 20).

By virtue of his office, the Governor serves on certain boards and commissions. The Governor chairs the Board of Public Works and the Governor's Executive Council (Cabinet) and serves on the Maryland Environmental Trust; the Maryland State Employees Risk Management Advisory Council; and the Maryland Veterans Home Commission. The Governor also is a member of several interstate boards: the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chesapeake Executive Council; the Education Commission of the States; the Interstate Mining Commission; the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin; the Southern Regional Education Board; the Southern States Energy Board; and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.


The Office of the Governor is organized under the Chief of Staff. Appointed by the Governor, the Chief of Staff oversees the Governor's Communications Office, Legislative Office, and Office of Legal Counsel and Regulatory Affairs, as well as the Governor's Executive Council (Cabinet), and the Washington Office. Reporting directly to the Chief of Staff, two Deputy Chiefs of Staff are responsible for the functions of government carried out by the fifteen principal executive departments. Also reporting directly to the Chief of Staff is the Director of Administration and Constituent Services who administers Appointments; Constituent Services; the Financial Office; Government House; and Support Services.


State House
Annapolis, MD 21401

The Governor's Executive Council originated as the Governor's Advisory Council in 1922 (Chapter 29, Acts of 1922). It was reorganized in 1969 as the Governor's Executive Council (Chapter 156, Acts of 1969). Known as the Governor's Cabinet, the Council meets weekly to coordinate, direct, and supervise State government.

The Council is comprised of twenty-one ex officio members. They include the Governor, who chairs the Council; the Lieutenant Governor; the Secretary of State; the secretary of each principal executive department of the State government; the State Superintendent of Schools; the Secretary of Higher Education; the Director on Aging; and the Director of Planning. The Governor may appoint an executive secretary for the Council (Code State Government Article, secs. 8-101 through 8-105; State Finance and Procurement Article, sec. 5-202).


The Governor established the Cabinet Council for Career and Technology Education in 1993 (Executive Order 01.01.1993.05). The Council sets the strategic direction for a system of career and technology education that meets business needs, is based on competency, and focuses on measurable outcomes. The Council coordinates planning for career and technology education by the State Department of Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and the Department of Business and Economic Development. To further career and technology education in Maryland, the Council ensures that departmental, legislative and budgetary recommendations of these agencies reflect a sharing of resources and plans.

The Council has three ex officio members. It is chaired by the State Superintendent of Schools.


The Cabinet Council on Criminal and Juvenile Justice was formed by the Governor in 1995 (Executive Order 01.01.1995.03). The Council coordinates the planning, implementation, and evaluation of State policies and programs for criminal and juvenile justice. Council priorities include crime prevention and public safety. The Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention staffs the Council.

The Council has four task forces. They are concerned with Juvenile Justice Reform; Law Enforcement; Sentencing and Intermediate Sanctions; and Youth Citizenship and Violence Prevention.

Chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, the Council consists of eleven ex officio members.


Annual Report of Subcabinet for Children, Youth, & Families to Governor due Oct. 1.

The Subcabinet for Children, Youth, and Families was formed by the Governor in 1987 as the Subcabinet for Children and Youth. It received its present name in 1990. Established by statute in 1993, the Subcabinet works to improve the structure and organization of state services to children, youth, and families (Chapter 556, Acts of 1993; Code 1957, Art. 49D, sec. 4.1).

The Subcabinet has nine members. Seven serve ex officio. Two are designated by the Governor. The Special Secretary for Children, Youth, and Families chairs the Subcabinet. The Office for Children, Youth, and Families serves as its staff.


Fifth Regiment Armory
219 29th Division St.
Baltimore, MD 21201 - 2288

The Governor may choose a military staff consisting of the Adjutant General and not more than twelve aides selected from the commissioned officers of the Maryland National Guard and naval militia. The Goverrnor's military staff directs the functions of the Military Department (Code 1957, Art. 65, sec. 9).

Maryland Constitutional Offices & Agencies

Maryland Manual On-Line

 Maryland Manual On-Line, 1998

July 10, 1998   
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