ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Through petitions from the general public or Legislators in the Maryland General Assembly, the Maryland Constitution affords the people the right to directly influence policy in the state through ballot referendums. This year, there will be five questions asked to voters at the polls in November.
These questions can range from local-issue questions to statewide issues such as the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Ballot referendums that are approved by voters at the poll become enshrined in state law through a constitutional amendment.
The questions that will be on the Maryland ballot this year are as follows:
Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 82 of the 2021 Legislative Session)
Court of Appeals and Special Appeals — Renaming
Changes the names of Maryland’s appellate courts from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court of Maryland and from the Court of Special Appeals to the Appellate Court of Maryland. Under the new law, judges serving on the Court of Appeals will be justices of the Supreme Court of Maryland and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals will be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maryland.
(Amending Article I, Section 6, Article III, Sections 5, 30, and 52, Article IV, Sections 1, 3, 3A, 4B, 5A, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, and 41E, Article V, Section 6, and Article XVII, Section 3 to the Maryland Constitution)
Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 808 of 2021 Legislative Session)
Legislative Department — Eligibility to Serve as Senators and Delegates — Place of Abode
Adds to the eligibility requirements to serve as a senator or a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly by requiring a person to have maintained a primary place of abode in the district that the person has been chosen to represent. Under current law, a person must have resided in the district to which the person has been elected for at least six months immediately preceding the date of the person’s election or, if the district has been established for less than six months prior to the date of election, as long as the district has been established. The new law requires, beginning January 1, 2024, a person must have both resided in and maintained a primary place of abode in the district for the same time periods as under current law.
(Amending Article III, Section 9 to the Maryland Constitution)
Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 809 of 2021 Legislative Session)
Civil Jury Trials
Authorizing the General Assembly to enact legislation that limits the right to a jury trial in a civil proceeding to those proceedings in which the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000, excluding attorney’s fees if attorney’s fees are recoverable in the proceeding. Under current law, the amount in controversy must exceed $15,000 before a party to a proceeding may demand a jury trial. In cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed this threshold amount, a judge, rather than a jury, determines the verdict.
(Amending Maryland Declaration of Rights – Articles 5(a) and 23)
Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 45 of the 2022 Legislative Session)
Cannabis — Legalization of Adult Use and Possession
Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the State of Maryland?
(Adding Article XX, Section 1 to the Maryland Constitution)
Constitutional Amendment (Ch. 539 of the 2022 Legislative Session)
Circuit Court for Howard County — Judges Sitting as Orphans’ Court
Repeals county elections of Howard County orphans’ court judges and requires the Howard County Circuit Court judges to sit as the orphans’ court for Howard County. The current law provides for the voters of Howard County to elect three orphans’ court Judges. Under the amended law, a party could no longer appeal a final judgment of the Howard County Orphans Court to the Howard County Circuit Court and would instead take an appeal directly to the Court of Special Appeals.
(Amending Article IV, Sections 20 and 40 to the Maryland Constitution)
We will continue to provide additional details on the upcoming election over the next few months.
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