Maryland’s Constitution incorporates the Declaration of Rights (Arts. 1-47) and the Constitution (Arts.I - XIX). Annotated versions of the current Maryland Constitution are available in the print published versions of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as well as in the electronic versions available on Lexis and Westlaw.
The Maryland Constitution, without annotations, is also available on Bloomberg Law and FastCase.
Free electronic unannotated versions of the Maryland Constitution are available in the online Maryland Manual and at the Maryland State Law Library Web site.
Additional current and historical information about the Maryland Constitution is available at the Archives of Maryland Online Web site.
Maryland Statutes & Legislation
Print: There are two published versions of the Maryland statutory code - West’s Annotated Code of Maryland and Michie’s Annotated Code of Maryland, These commercially published versions of the Code contain, in addition to the statutory language, information on the enactment and amendment of each statute section, as well as annotations that provide cross-references to secondary sources and to primary authorities such as cases applying and interpreting the Code sections. These editions also contain the Maryland Constitution and various court rules. The print volumes are updated by annual pocket parts or paper supplementary volumes, and include annually updated subject indexes.
Electronic: LexisNexisand Westlaw (annotated versions), as well as BloombergLaw and FastCase (unannotated versions) are among the commercial online legal research services that provide the Maryland statutory Code. These services are subscribed to by law libraries and some other academic and public libraries including county circuit court libraries.
Also, free online unannotated versions of the Maryland Code are available from:
It is not uncommon for a researcher to need to determine how a statute section read at an earlier point in time. Print versions of superseded code volumes and pocket parts may be located at larger law libraries (see above.) Online subscription services such as Lexis and Westlaw provide some historical coverage of the Maryland Code. A free version of the suprseded codes is avaiable from the Maryland Archives Online. Further information about retrospective statute searching can be found in the TMLL Guide to Legal Research.
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Maryland Legislation and Legislative History
The bicameral Maryland General Assembly (MGA), consisting of the Senate and the House of Delegates, convenes annually on the second Wednesday in January for a 90-calendar day session. Detailed descriptions of the General Assembly’s legislative process are available from the Department of Legislative Services and in the Maryland Manual Online.
The MGA site includes information about bills and resolutions introduced during the current legislative session and for sessions back to 1996. The site also includes Senate and House floor proceedings, vote tallies, fiscal notes, and committee hearing schedules, as well as Legislative Wrap-Ups and the postsession 90 Day Report.
Detailed information about bill status, as well as the full text of various versions of the bill, can be found at the MGA site. Each version of the bills is also published as a separate pamphlet; these paper versions are received by larger law libraries. Lexis and Westlaw also include bill and billtracking information.
Enacted bills for each session are published chronologically as session laws in the print publication Laws of Maryland, held by larger law libraries. These are cited, for example, as 1999 Md. Laws ch. 466. Lexis, Westlaw, and BloombergLaw also provide some coverage of Maryland session laws. Session laws are also available on the General Assembly Web site and the Maryland Archives.
Legislative history of Maryland laws
Locating information that provides insight into the legislative intent behind enactments of the Maryland General Assembly can be challenging, as historically committee materials and floor debates were not preserved.Several strategies that may be useful are the following:
- Look at the enacted session law for the purpose clause, which is often uncodified and therefore does not appear in the various published versions of the Annotated Code of Maryland;
- Look at successive versions of the bill to see language that was added or omitted as the bill worked its way through the legislative process;
- Look at the Maryland Legislative Committee Bill Files, which are microfilmed versions of the materials collected by the Committee to whom the bill was submitted for review. The bill files are available from 1976 through the late 1990’s and are gradually being updated. The microfilmed files are held by larger law libraries, including University of Maryland Thurgood Marshall Law Library and University of Baltimore Law School Library in Baltimore City, and the Maryland State Law Library in Annapolis. For bill files for more recent legislation, consult the Department of Legislative Services in Annapolis.
- Search local newspapers such as the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Afro-American, and the Daily Record during the period in which the legislation was enacted.