Historical Resources

 

The following resources are available to research legislative history and intent in Maryland:

 

Laws of Maryland

 

Known also as the "Session Laws," the Laws of Maryland are published at the end of each annual session and special session. Printed are the final versions of the bills that are passed by the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) and signed into law by the Governor or that become law constitutionally. The title and body of the published chapters reflect the final form of any amendments (language added or stricken in the legislative process) as well as enacting and effective date clauses, preambles, and other uncodified provisions.

 

Journals

 

The Journal of the House of Delegates and the Journal of the Senate are the official publications of the MGA. These journals, published after each regular and special session, contain committee recommendations on bills, floor amendments, bill history and summary, floor roll call votes, and action on any motion. The journals do not contain transcripts of floor proceedings.

 

Committee Files

 

1975-Present

 

The Legislative Services Library is the repository for House and Senate committee files for bills introduced in the General Assembly since 1975. In general, the files for the two most recent sessions are retained by the respective committees.

 

The committee files may typically contain the following information:

 

·         copies of various versions of bills;

·         amendments offered in committee and on the floor;

·         committee bill analyses and floor reports;

·         lists of witnesses at bill hearings;

·         copies of written testimony;

·         correspondence regarding bills;

·         other documentation compiled by the committee;

·         Attorney General letters of advice and bill review letters;

·         fiscal notes indicating impact on State/local revenue and expenditures;

·         committee votes (available online from 2010 to present); and

·         floor votes (available online from 1998 to present).

 

Reference librarians are available to assist you.

 

The committee bill files are being microfilmed, and duplicate microfilm reels are deposited with the following libraries:

 

·         Maryland State Law Library;

·         University of Maryland Law Library;

·         University of Baltimore Law Library;

·         Attorney General's Library; and

·         Baltimore County Circuit Court Library

 

Pre-1975

 

Legislative history prior to 1975 is extremely limited. Available materials include:

 

·         selected committee bill files for 1968-1974

 

 

Legislative Council Report to the General Assembly for 1941-1976 (known as the "Blue Books," the reports include the recommended bills of the Legislative Council for the upcoming session, actual minutes, and committee or special reports. For the years 1965-1976, the Library is the repository for some of the items referenced in the minutes).

 

Audio Recordings of Committee Hearings and Floor Proceedings

 

Starting with the 1992 session, the Senate began audio recording its committee and floor proceedings. Beginning with the 2004 session, the Senate uses a digital recording format. Committee hearings and floor proceedings are now reproduced on data CDs playable on a computer or DVD or CD player that supports the MP3 format. Computer software, such as Windows Media Player, will open the data files and play the CDs. Data CDs for the legislative sessions beginning in 1992 are available through Library and Information Services for $7 payable in cash or by check. Additionally, the audio portions of Senate and House floor proceedings, beginning in 2000, are available on the MGA website.  From Legislation by Session, choose the Session, then under Legislation List choose Proceedings - Senate or House Audio.  Beginning with the 2011 session audio of the Senate committee hearings and video of the House committee hearings are also available on the MGA website.

 

Fees

 

Duplication fees for photocopies are 15 cents per page. Fees for audio recordings are $7 per CD.