Understanding How Maryland Statutes Are Made
The General Assembly is Maryland's legislative body and enacts Maryland laws. The General Assembly consists of the Senate and the House of Delegates. Maryland has 47 districts, represented by 47 Senators and 141 Delegates, each serving a 4 year term of office.
- The laws enacted by the General Assembly are statutes. Learn more about finding statutes.
- A bill is a proposed law under considered by the legislature. If a bill originates in the House of Delegates, the bill number will start with an "HB." If the bill originated in the Senate, the number will start with "SB."
- Sponsors are the representatives (senators and/or delegates) who signed the bill and promoted it during the General Assembly session when the bill was considered. Sponsors are listed at the top of each bill.
The Maryland General Assembly's website has various resources that will help you understand the legislative process as well as learn about current legislation.
Legislative history is the record of what happened during the making of a law. It includes the:
- different drafts of the law before the final version;
- Floor debates;
- History (who proposed amendments and what happened);
- Testimony from any hearings.
To find legislative history, you must first understand the legislative process. The next step is to figure out where to look for materials. A good place to start is with the original bill. If the bill is from 1996 to the present, then a good place to look is the General Assembly's website. Depending on the bill, the website may have a variety of related documents, including amendments to bills as well as legislative history materials, such as Fiscal and Policy Notes.
- Maryland - The Maryland Thurgood Marshall State Law Library's website has detailed research guides on Maryland legislative history.
- Federal - The Law Library of Congress's website has detailed information on how to find federal legislative history.