As the central nonpartisan professional staffing agency for the General Assembly of Maryland, the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) employs more than 350 people who provide legal, fiscal, committee, research, reference, auditing, administrative, and technological support to the members of the legislature and its committees. The department's mission is to facilitate the legislative process by providing the members of the General Assembly with the highest quality of staff support. This requires that the department establish and maintain high performance standards for its staff, as well as create an organizational culture that promotes adaptability to the changing needs and priorities of the General Assembly.
Appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President in consultation with the House and Senate Minority Leaders, the Executive Director has overall responsibility and supervision over the offices, functions, personnel, budget, and activities of the Department of Legislative Services.
The Executive Director is responsible for management, oversight, and direction of the department's four offices: the Office of Policy Analysis; the Office of Operations and Support Services; the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability; and the Office of Legislative Audits. The position of Counsel to the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which functions as Ethics Advisor to the General Assembly also falls under the supervision of the Executive Director.
Office of Operations and Support Services
The Office of Operations and Support Services provides administrative activities of the General Assembly including personnel, benefits, budget, accounting, procurement, facilities management, supply inventories, distribution of bills and mail, and graphics and printing services. Additionally, the primary technology support group for the Department and General Assembly fall under this office. Services of Information Technology include design, development, maintenance, telecommunications, and support of custom legislative systems such as legislative bill drafting, bill status, and chamber automation.
Office of Policy Analysis
In the Office of Policy Analysis (OPA), staff work in one of the following functional areas: Budget Analysis; Fiscal and Policy Notes; Legislative Drafting; Committee Staffing; Library and Information Services; Editing and Bill Processing; or Racial Equity Impact Notes. Budget analysis staff review and analyze State agency budgets. Fiscal and policy note staff prepare estimates of the fiscal impact of every bill introduced during the legislative session. Legislative drafting staff draft bills and amendments and also provide legal review and analysis. Committee staff provide professional services to all legislative committees and various commissions and task forces. Library and information services staff serve the legislature, staff, and the public through the operation of the legislative library and the provision of information about legislative activities. Editing and bill processing staff work collaboratively to ensure that bills and other legislative documents are accurate and meet legislative and departmental standards. Racial equity impact note staff evaluate the racial impact of selected criminal justice legislation introduced during the legislative session.
- In addition to their functional responsibilities, OPA staff works in policy-related groups that operate during the legislative interim to review and analyze issues in subject areas such as business, technology, and economic development; courts and civil matters; criminal justice and public safety; education; fiscal planning; health; human services; intergovernmental matters; legal matters; natural resources, environment, and transportation; program review and special projects; public administration; and taxes and revenues. The primary purpose of the work groups is to foster the development of subject-area expertise in order to support the multidisciplinary research needs of the committees during the interim and to answer legislative inquiries.
Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability
At the direction of the Joint Audit and Evaluation Committee, the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPE) conducts evaluations of governmental activities and/or units. OPE evaluates the efficiency, effectiveness, and economy with which resources are used; determines whether desired program results are achieved; determines whether a program aligns with the unit’s mission; evaluates whether a program duplicates another program or activity within another unit; evaluates whether the governmental activity or unit operates in an open, accountable, fair, and non-discriminatory manner; and determines the reliability of specified performance measures.
Office of Legislative Audits
OLA conducts audits and evaluations of Maryland State government agencies and local school systems. OLA is a unit within the Department of Legislative Services, which provides staff support for the Maryland General Assembly.