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Georgetown Law Library

Maryland Resources In-Depth

This State Guide provides an in-depth look at sources of law in Maryland.

Agencies & Administrative Law

A. Executive Branch

Maryland's executive branch of government, headed by the Governor, includes nineteen principal departments, and numerous independent agencies, commissions, task forces, and advisory boards.

1. GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

The Governor is elected by popular vote for a four-year term and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms. The Office of the Governor maintains a Web site. The Governor's powers and duties include the following:

  • At the beginning of each legislative session, submits proposed budget for the following fiscal year to the General Assembly;
  • Gives State of the State Address to the General Assembly at the beginning of each session;
  • Considers each bill passed by the General Assembly for approval or veto;
  • Appoints military and civilian officers with the advice and consent of the Maryland Senate;
  • Serves as Commander-in-Chief of the Maryland National Guard except when it is called to national service;
  • Serves on certain boards and commissions, including the Board of Public Works and the Governor's Workforce Investment Board.

The Lieutenant Governor is also elected to a four-year term, and performs duties delegated by the Governor. If the Governor leaves office before the end of the four-year term for any reason, the Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor.

2. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

The 19 principal departments of Maryland's executive branch include the Departments of Business & Economic Development; Education; Health & Mental Hygiene; Labor, Licensing, & Regulation; Natural Resources; State Police; and Transportation. A complete list of the principal departments, with organizational charts and contact information, is available from the Maryland Manual Online. Each principal department is made up of numerous agencies. For example, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene includes under its umbrella the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration and the AIDS Administration.

Maryland also has many executive branch agencies which are not part of any of the principal departments; these are called independent agencies. A list of Maryland's independent agencies, with organizational charts and contact information, is also available from the Maryland Manual Online.

A complete list of Maryland departments, agencies, task forces and commissions is available fromMaryland.gov, which also provides links to their home pages. Below are direct links to a few of the more important agencies:

  • Maryland Attorney General: The Attorney General is Maryland's chief legal officer. The Attorney General's Office "represents the State in all cases pending in the Appellate Courts of the State, and in the U.S. Supreme Court and lower Federal Courts." It also "gives legal opinions as to the construction or interpretation of the law as it affects various agencies of the State and gives legal opinions to local subdivisions on questions involving substantial statewide interest."
  • Comptroller of Maryland: The primary duty of the Office of the Comptroller is to collect taxes.
  • State Department of Assessments and Taxation: The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) is responsible for the valuation of personal and real property for state tax purposes. SDAT is also the agency with which businesses must file articles of incorporation (to form a corporation), articles of organization (to form a limited liability company), forms for registration as a foreign corporation doing business in Maryland, and related documents.
    • SDAT maintains Maryland's business filings. Filings include registered agent information; personal property assessment information for corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability limited partnerships, and professional corporations; and trade name registrations.
      • Web: ( January 1, 2001-); PDF images of filed documents are available.
      • Lexis Public records: on Lexis Advance, from the leftmost dropdown menu (current data )
      • Westlaw

B. Regulations

Similar to the federal model, Maryland's state agencies are authorized to promulgate regulations to enforce a particular statute. All proposed, amended, and adopted regulations by state agencies have to be published in the Maryland Register before they enter into force.

1. MARYLAND REGISTER

The Maryland Register (Md. Reg.) is an official publication of the State of Maryland and is published every two weeks. It was first issued on October 17, 1974 after the enactment of the State Document Law. In addition to regulations, the following information is also published regularly in the Maryland Register: Governor's Executive Orders, Governor's Appointments to State Offices, Attorney General's Opinions in full text, Open Meetings Compliance Board Opinions in full text, State Ethics Commission Opinions in full text, Court rules, District Court Administrative Memoranda, Courts of Appeal Hearing Calendars, Agency Hearing and Meeting Notices, and other documents considered to be in the public interest.

2. CODE OF MARYLAND REGULATIONS (COMAR)

While the Maryland Register publishes, among other things, proposed, amended and adopted regulations chronologically in bi-weekly issues, the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR)organizes all adopted regulations by subject. COMAR first appeared in 1977, but the whole set was not completed until 1981. The Maryland Register is, therefore, used as the supplement toCOMAR. In each issue of the Register, there is a cumulative table of regulations by COMAR title which have been adopted.

3. WHERE TO FIND MARYLAND REGULATIONS?

  • Maryland Register
    • Print: KFM1234.A2 M37 (Library has v.14, 1987-)
    • Web: Maryland Register online (only the 8 most recent issues are available)
    • Lexis:  - (January 14, 2000-; tends to be about one month behind). There is also a MD State Regulation Tracking database which contains summaries of proposed regulations and status actions for individual regulations as promulgated by various agencies in the state, from 1995-present.
    • Westlaw does not have the full text of the Maryland Register, but it has Maryland Regulation Tracking Full Text, which contains the full text of proposed and recently adopted regulations; it is updated daily.

  • Code of Maryland Regulations

    • Print: KFM1235 1977 .A25 (current only; to find historic regulations, check the Maryland RegisterKFM1234.A2 M37)
    • Web: COMAR Online (updated bi-weekly)
    • Lexis:
      • Current: : Current through the most recent Maryland Register
    • Westlaw:
      • Current: Maryland Administrative Code: Current through the most recentMaryland Register
      • Historic: Previous years' editions of the Maryland Administrative Code (back to 2002) are available in databases named according to the year. For example, to search COMAR as it existed in 2004, search the MD-ADC04 database.
  • Note: Before the enactment of the State Document Law in 1974, regulations were not published on a regular or consistent basis. Newspaper articles, legal notices and agencies' annual reports are some of the documents a student researching pre-1970 regulatory matters can hope to find in the Maryland State Law Library, and the Legislative Services Library.

C. Administrative Orders, Decisions, and Opinions

In addition to making regulations, many Maryland agencies issue orders, decisions, and opinions. Many of these orders, decisions, and opinions are originally published in chronological order in theMaryland Register. Other sources, as listed below, are superior when you are researching these documents by subject.

1. WHERE TO FIND MARYLAND ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS, DECISIONS, AND OPINIONS?

  • Maryland Attorney General Opinions