Let the People Be Heard – Upholding a Constitutional Mandate

“It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide by Law for taking, at the general election to be held in the year nineteen hundred and seventy, and every twenty years thereafter, the sense of the People in regard to calling a Convention for altering this Constitution.” Constitution of Maryland, Article XIV, Section 2. The Constitution of Maryland governs the three branches of state government as well as provides the framework for enabling local governments in the state. The current Constitution was adopted by a Constitutional Convention in 1867 and ratified by the citizens of Maryland that same year. The current Constitution has been amended through the years but only after each provision is ratified by the citizens of the State at a General Election. Article XIV provides that proposed amendments must be passed by the General Assembly before ratification by the voters of the state. A new Constitution containing major changes was proposed under the Constitutional Convention of 1967-68. When the People spoke, the proposed State Constitution was rejected by the voters at a Special Election on May 14, 1968. The citizens of Maryland added a provision to the Constitution in 1956 that requires the General Assembly to gauge the “sense of the People” every twenty years with regard to calling a Constitutional Convention. With respect to the Constitution of Maryland and the voice of the People, Minority Leader Allan Kittleman has joined with the Senate leadership in sponsoring the bill mandated by the Constitution which has been introduced this session as Senate Bill 26. “This obviously is not the time to change the Constitution of Maryland or bear the expense of a Constitutional Convention,” said Senator Kittleman. “But I take my Constitutional duties seriously and abide by its provisions that the People shall be heard. I predict that they will vote at the polls a resounding NO!”


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