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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Maryland - Executive Branch - Agencies and Offices

Information about Maryland executive agencies and offices is available in the Maryland Manual.

You can link to Maryland agency web sites through the Maryland State Web site. There's a telephone directory posted by the Department of Budget and Management.

Following is information on selected agencies and offices.

Attorney General's Office: Information about the Maryland Attorney General's Office is posted on the AGO web site. The main telephone number is 410-576-6300 (or 888-743-0023, toll-free in Maryland).

Advice Letters: The Attorney General's Office posts selected Advice Letters from 1997. Otherwise, call the Attorney General's Opinions office to get copies (410-576-6300 or 888-743-0023, toll-free in Maryland).

Attorney General Opinions: Maryland Attorney General Opinions are published first in the Maryland Register and, much later, in Opinions of the Attorney General. Opinions back to 1993 are posted on the Attorney General's Web site (www.oag.state.md.us/Opinions/index.htm). Opinions are searchable on Lexis (MD;MDAG) and on Westlaw (MD-AG) back to 1997. You can pull Attorney general opinions on Lexis and Westlaw using the format xx Md. Op. Atty. Gen. xx. Older opinions are available on HeinOnline.If you have access, Opinions from 1916-1971 are available through the LLMC Digital Library.

Note: Before 1993 some "unpublished" were only summarized in Opinions of the Attorney General. Contact the AG's Office for the full opinion.

Securities Division: The Securities Division of the Attorney general's office regulates securities and the securities industry. In addition to enforcing the state's Blue Sky laws, the Division handles the registration of securities, brokers, investment advisers, financial planners and franchises. The Division's Orders, Releases and Letters are searchable on Lexis back to 1982 (MD;MDSEC). Decisions are searchable on Westlaw back to 1997 (MDSEC-ADMIN).

Board of Contract Appeals: Decisions of the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals are published officially in Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals Decisions, which is available in larger Maryland law libraries. The BCA posts decisions back to 1997.

The only direct way to locate decisions by subject is to use the limited index in volume 1 of Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals Decisions. You can simulate a key word search of the decisions on the MSBCA Web site using Google by adding "site:www.msbca.state.md.us/decisions" to your search terms. Otherwise, try to find references in judicial opinions, articles and treatises.

Comptroller of Maryland: See the "Tax" section, below.

Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation: The DLLR Web address is www.dllr.state.md.us. To check for business licenses and complaints, visit the licensing queries page and call the relevant commission if you can't get the information you need online. Decisions of the DLLR Board of Appeals are indexed in the Maryland Unemployment Decisions Digest. Contact the DLLR to get the full text of decisions (410-767-2781 phone, 410-767-2787 fax, or ui@dllr.state.md.us). See also the "Real Estate Section," below.

Department of Natural Resources: The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for forests, parks, hunting, fishing, boat titles and registration, etc. The Department's phone number is 410-260-8367 (or 877-620-8367 in Maryland). The Department's Web site provides information about most of the Department's activities (www.dnr.state.md.us).

The DNR's Forest Conservation rules were first published in 1991 in the State Forest Conservation Manual. The 2nd edition (1995) and 3rd edition (1977) were titled the State Forest Conservation Technical Manual. Use the online order form to buy the current edition from the Division of State Documents. For older editions check with Maryland Depository Libraries. Most Maryland counties adopt the Manual, sometimes with modifications.

Division of Corrections: The Division of Corrections is the part of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services that runs state prisons. The Division's rules are called Division of Correction Directives (DCDs); prior to July 1, 1991 they were called Division of Correction Regulations (DCRs). The Maryland State Law Library compiles these Directives/Regulations in a binder titled Regulations / Maryland Division of Correction and will fax copies (888-216-8156).

Government Contracts: Materials relevant to Maryland government contracts are available from various agencies. For example, government contractors are required to file Disclosures by Persons Doing Public Business; you can get copies from the Secretary of State. You can get a list of Businesses & Persons Suspended or Debarred from Doing business with the Board of Public Works. Information about new government contracts was published in the Maryland Contract Weekly until 1996. After that, check with the relevant agency. Some Bid Opportunities and Award notices are posted on the eMaryland MarketPlace; others are posted by the Department of General Services. For decisions resolving disputes between contractors and the state, see "Board of Contract Appeals," above.

Governor's Office: Press releases, speeches, policies and contact information are posted on the Governor's Web site (www.gov.state.md.us ).

Executive Orders are published in the Maryland Register and the "permanent" ones are subsequently compiled in Title 01 of the Code of Maryland Regulations (see "Maryland - Executive Branch - Administrative Code and Regulations"). Executive Orders are posted in Title 1 of COMAR Online. Executive orders are compiled annually posted in PDF format on the General Assembly starting with 2007 (you can find the annual compilation by searching 'site:http://mlis.state.md.us/ "executive orders"' on Google). Recent Executive Orders are generally posted on the Governor's web site. Old ones were published in the Maryland Code and Laws of Maryland. (For a discussion of Maryland Executive Orders see "Gubernatorial Executive Orders: Legislative or Executive Power," XLIV(3) Maryland Bar Journal 49 (May 2011)).

The governor's Veto Messages are published in the House and Senate Journals and the Laws of Maryland. I believe Proclamations are or were also published in the House and Senate Journals and Laws of Maryland.

Health Care: The Maryland Health Care Commission handles health care issues in Maryland. The State's health care plan is incorporated by reference into COMAR (sections 10.24.xx), and the current edition is posted on the Commission's Regulations page. Changes to the plans are published in the Maryland Register. Copies of superceded plans are available from the Maryland State Law Library.

Insurance: Insurance matters are handled by the Maryland Insurance Administration. The Administration Web site posts contact information, recent Bulletins and Publications, Disciplinary Orders and other useful materials. You can also look up licensed insurance companies.

Insurance Bulletins back to 1970 are searchable on Lexis (MD;MDBLTN) and Westlaw (MDIN-BUL). The Administration's Bulletins page has Bulletins issued 1999-Present, and an Index of Bulletins issued fom July 1, 1997 to May 12, 2009.

Selected Orders of the Maryland Insurance Administration are available from 2002 or 2000 to the present (depending on the type of Order) on the Orders page of the Administration site. Orders from 1999 through 2001 are summarized in the Insurance Regulator; you can get copies from the Maryland State Law Library (410-260-1430). However, the best bet may be to call the Administration's Public Affairs Office (410-468-2007) -- they keep an internal subject index of Orders.

Nursing: The Maryland Board of Nursing (410-585-1900 or 888-202-9861) licenses nurses and regulates nursing in Maryland. The Board issued and then withdrew a series of Declaratory Rulings from 1988 to 2007, but the rulings are cached in the Internet Archive.

Real Estate The Real Estate Commission, a division of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (discussed above), administers the licensing and discipline of real estate brokers. The Commission posts disciplinary actions since 2000. The Commission's regulations are published in COMAR, Title 9, Subtitle 11, including the brokers Code of Ethics in Chapter 02.

Building contractors who do home improvement work (including work on individual condo units) are licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, a part of the DLLR's Licensing division. They have an online license search, but you have to call them to find out about complaints (410-230-6309).

Building contractors who do new homes, commercial work, buildings with more than four units and the common areas of condominiums are licensed by the Clerk of the Circuit Court for each county. To check on a license or complaints, call the Clerk's Office and ask for the License Department.

Secretary of State: The Maryland Secretary of State has a wide scope of authority including the regulation and/or registration of charities, notaries, trademarks, condominiums, extraditions, pardons. The Secretary of State is also responsible for publishing the Maryland Register, the Code of Maryland Regulations and the Maryland Contract Weekly. However, business registrations and corporate filings are not handled by the Secretary of State, but rather by the State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT), discussed below.

Information about the Secretary of State's Office - its organization, personnel and contact information - is posted in the Maryland Manual. More information about the Office and its operations is posted on the Office web site.

Securities: While the registration of business entities in Maryland is handles by SDAT (discussed below), the regulations of securities and the securities industry is handled by the the Attorney General's Office, discussed above.

State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT): SDAT handles Maryland property taxes, UCC filings, corporate filings and the registration of other business entities. Information about all of these functions is posted on the SDAT Web site. For more information, see the "Tax" section of this entry, below, and the "Business Entities," "Real Estate Ownership," "Trademarks" and "Uniform Commercial Code" sections of the "Maryland - Other Useful Information" entry.

Tax: Most Maryland taxes are handled by the Comptroller of Maryland. The Comptroller Web site posts contact information, tax forms, regulations and other information about Maryland taxes. The Tax Publications page provides links to Administrative Releases, Notices and Bulletins governing Maryland Income and Estate Tax, Sales and Use Tax, Alcoholic Beverages Tax, Tobacco Tax, and Motor Fuel Tax.

Real Property Tax: Property taxes in Maryland are administered by the State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT). Real property tax rates for all Maryland counties are posted on SDAT's County Tax Rates page. The value of real property is assessed every three years. You can look up the last assessment date for a property using SDAT's Real Property Search; it's the date under the words "Value as of" in the Value section of each record. The next assessment date is three years later. Contact SDAT to get historical assessments (410-512-4905).

Regulations: Tax regulations are published in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). Before COMAR (and for a little while after), the Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury published pamphlets containing the laws and regulations for each kind of tax. The Maryland State Law Library (888-216-8156 in-state; 410-260-1430 out-of-state) has compiled many of these pamphlets into a book called Tax Rules and Regulations, covering 1959 through 1970. The State Library also has some individual booklets, as does the Baltimore Bar Library. Some booklets may be available at the various Maryland county law libraries.

Tax Court: The Maryland Tax Court is an independent administrative agency created in 1959 to decide tax disputes. Tax controversies were previously heard by the Tax Commissioner (from 1879 to 1914) and the State Tax Commission (from 1914 to 1959). Decisions of the Tax Court are subject to judicial review.

Decisions of the Tax Court are available from the following sources:

  • The Tax Court Decisions page of the Court web site has a few selected decisions (April 24, 1999 to Present);
  • Westlaw (MDTX-TCT database, 1960 to Present);
  • Checkpoint (1960-Present, by subscription);
  • The CCH Maryland State Tax Reporter, in print or on Intelliconnect (1960-Present; click here for more information);
  • Lexis (MD;MDCTS, 1979 to Present);
  • The Hawkins Maryland Tax Court Service (1970 to 2005) and the Maryland State Library's Opinions collection (1970-2001). You can get copies from either by calling the Maryland State Law Library (888-216-8156 in-state; 410-260-1430 out-of-state);
  • You can also get decisions by calling the Court (410-767-4830 or 866-223-6075).

To research Tax Court decisions, your best bet is to search the Westlaw, CCH or Checkpoint databases, which are searchable and should be comprehensive. You can also look in the print Maryland State Tax Reporter, if you can find a current copy.

Tax Court Rules of Procedure are published in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), Title 14, Subtitle 12 ( et seq.). They are posted on the Court's Rules and Procedures page, along with an explanation of court procedures called a "Procedures Abstract."

Unemployment Insurance: See "Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation," above.

See Also
Maryland - Executive Branch - Administrative Code and Regulations
Maryland - Other Useful Information

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman