Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Maryland Resources In-Depth

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

Local Governments

A. Background Information Sources

B. County Governments

Twenty-three counties and Baltimore City are the twenty-four primary local jurisdictions in Maryland. In most other states, power to deal with local issues is delegated to incorporated municipalities, but in Maryland, the responsibilities and powers rest mainly with the counties. Counties provide local services and act as an administrative arm of the State.

There are two major types of county government in Maryland: (1) commission and (2) home rule. In addition, Baltimore City has its own type of local government that differs from both the commission and home rule models. For detailed descriptions of the county and Baltimore City government types, see the "Maryland Local Law" section of the Thurgood Marshall Law Library Research Guide.

Local codes are available online for many counties; for example:

Maryland Manual On-Line: Local Government: Counties links to county codes where available.

C. Municipal Governments

There are over 150 municipal corporations (towns and cities) in Maryland. Most of them have been incorporated by an act of the Maryland General Assembly, but some were incorporated by referendum. They are given home rule powers under Article XI-E of the Maryland Constitution. The General Assembly can pass legislation affecting municipal corporations, but that legislation must affect all municipal corporations the same way.

Codes are available online for selected towns and cities, including:

Maryland Manual On-Line: Local Government: Municipalities (by name) provides links to cities' and towns' codes where available.