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.
Office of the Executive Director
The Executive Director of the Department of Legislative Services has overall responsibility and ultimate authority for the administration of the department and provides overall direction for its functions and activities. The office provides administrative activities of the General Assembly including personnel, benefits, budget, accounting, procurement, supply inventories, distribution of bills and mail, and printing. Additionally, the office is responsible for coordinating a new legislators' orientation at the beginning of each new four-year term. The Office of the Executive Director is also responsible for coordinating the work of the Joint Committee to Select the Treasurer every four years. The position of Counsel to the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, which functions as Ethics Advisor to the General Assembly, falls under this office.
Office of Policy Analysis
In the Office of Policy Analysis (OPA), staff works in one of three functional areas: Fiscal and Policy Analysis, Legislation and Committee Support, or Library and Information Services. Fiscal and Policy Analysis staff works in the areas of budget and fiscal review and analysis. Staff also prepares an estimate of the cost of every bill introduced during the legislative session. The area of Legislation includes legislative and amendment drafting, statutory revision, and legal review and analysis. Committee Support comprises staff that provides professional services to all legislative committees, subcommittees, commissions, and task forces. Library and Information Services serves the legislature, staff, and the public through the operation of the legislative library and the provision of public information services about legislative activities.
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.
Additionally, the office maintains an active publication program to fulfill its statutory charge to conduct general research studies, develop options, make recommendations, and report to the General Assembly on various fiscal and policy matters.
Office of Information Systems
The Office of Information Systems (OIS) is the primary technology support group for the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) and the Maryland General Assembly (MGA). The services of OIS include design, development, maintenance, telecommunications, and support of custom legislative systems such as legislative bill drafting, bill status, and chamber automation. OIS supports about 1200 personal computers in the Annapolis complex and operates a legislative data center including Windows Servers hosting Exchange, SQL Server, IIS Server and other related facilities. In addition, most members of the General Assembly have personal and laptop computers supplied and supported by OIS with an integrated legislative office computing package. OIS has dedicated user-support and training activities and a core team that develops and supports DLS and MGA applications. OIS is structured and operated as an "in-house" consulting group.
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.