As in all states, a popularly elected governor heads Maryland's executive branch. The governor's cabinet is known as the Executive Council. Like most state chief executives, the Maryland governor is elected to serve a four-year term. He or she is term limited to serve no more than two consecutive terms. The Governor is elected under the plurality system. The current governor is Martin O'Malley.
The governor has power to veto laws passed by the state's legislature and, like most of the nation's governors, also has a line item veto, which can be used to strike certain portions of appropriations bills. The state legislature can override a veto by a three-fifths (60%) vote of the total number of members in each house. This is different from most states, which usually require a higher two-thirds (66.66%) vote to override a veto.
The appointment powers of the governor are extensive, as he or she appoints almost all military and civil officers of the State subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. In addition to appointing the heads of major departments, boards, and commissions of the State government, the Governor appoints certain boards and commissions in each county and the City of Baltimore, as provided for by law. The Governor also commissions notaries public and appoints persons to fill vacancies in the offices of Attorney General and Comptroller (both of which are normally elected by the people) and also to fill vacant seats in the General Assembly. Any officer appointed by the Governor (except interim members of the General Assembly) is removable by him for cause.
The governor is commander-in-chief of the military forces of the State, the Maryland National Guard, except when such forces are called into the national service by the President of the United States, as well as the Maryland Defense Force. In times of public emergency the Governor has certain emergency powers as defined by law.