Learn Annapolis “Lingo” with an Insider Cheat Sheet

The General Assembly and its many storied histories have formed a special “language” around town… where members and stakeholders chat about bluebacks and snakes and sunsets. Fortunately there’s a handy guide to help translate Annapolis lingo, to help make sense of it all.

The Department of Legislative Services, the non-partisan staffing agency to the General Assembly (and apropos of this write-up, known as D-L-S to everyone around town) has prepared a 7-page write-up of commonly used terms, references, and slang for use in the legislative process.

Legislative Lingo is a less weighty publication than many of the scores of reports and analyses that DLS will develop over the course of the session… but surely useful, and definitely so for county officials trying to navigate the state legislative process for a first time.

A few favorite selections:

Calendar Day
The 24-hour day as denoted on the calendar

Legislative Day
Length of time from convening a session in the chamber until adjournment; may be longer or shorter than a calendar day i.e., a session that continues into a second calendar day without adjourning is one legislative day. If a chamber adjourns and reconvenes on the same day, that constitutes two legislative days.


Special Order
Postpones floor action on a bill until a definite date or time.

Read the full Legislative Lingo report online, from the Department of Legislative Services.


Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties