A bill is submitted by a Council member for introduction to the City Council.
Each bill is given a number by the Executive Secretary to the Council and assigned to a committee. The bill number and title are read at the Council meeting and the President assigns the bill to the appropriate committee(s) for study.
Much of the work of the Council is done in committees and subcommittees. Committees are established at the first Council meeting of each term.
The President assigns each bill that is not immediately adopted to an appropriate committee or subcommittee. A copy of the bill is also sent to the appropriate city agencies. Each agency issues a written report on the bill. These reports are forwarded to the Executive Secretary and the committee assigned to study the bill.
Generally, a committee will hold a public hearing after all reports are received from agencies. Legislation may be heard more quickly, if requested by the Committee Chair and approved by the Body. Hearings are generally held in the City Council Chambers unless otherwise noted. Hearings are also open to the public and generally public testimony will be heard in committee hearings. Public testimony is not heard during meetings of the full City Council.
Public Hearing Schedule
The City Council publishes a hearing schedule. A free copy of the hearing schedule may be obtained from the Office of the Executive Secretary or from the City Council website at baltimore.legistar.com. Questions and public testimony may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may find the Council’s hearing guidelines here.
The committee chair, with the approval of a majority of committee members,reports the bill at a City Council meeting, with one of the following recommendations:
- Favorable with Amendments
- Without recommendation
When a bill has passed second reading, the Department of Legislative Reference prepares and prints the bill for third reading. At this point the bill contains appropriate forms for endorsements and signatures. At this final stage, the bill may be:
- Passed by the City Council and sent to the Mayor
- Voted down by the Council
- Amended by the Council
- Returned to committee for further study
Final action on a bill requires a majority vote of all Councilmembers. Amending and taking final action on a bill requires a three-quarters vote of the whole Council.
The Council President signs the bill and sends it to the mayor. A bill becomes law:
- if the mayor signs it, or
- if the mayor fails to sign the bill within three regular Council meetings.
The mayor may veto the bill. A three-quarters majority of the City Council must vote yes to override the Mayor's veto.