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Maryland Legislature busy on last day

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Local,Maryland,Andy Brownfield

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland's General Assembly passed a number of key pieces of legislation Monday with more than nine hours to go in the final day of the 2013 legislative session.

Before the noon hour rolled around, the state Senate sent the capital budget to O'Malley's desk. That budget pays for all of the state's construction projects, including $925 million in new bonds.

The Senate also gave final passage to a bill allowing academic medical centers to opt-in to a program to distribute medical marijuana and study its effects. In a news conference with reporters in the State House basement, Gov. Martin O'Malley indicated that he is willing to sign the medical marijuana bill into law.

O'Malley characterized the overall session as "effective."

"This has to be probably the most orderly conclusion that I've seen," said the governor, who is overseeing is seventh session of the General Assembly.

At this time last year, debates over an income tax hike and a gambling measure for Prince George's County snarled everything else in the General Assembly and lawmakers were forced at the last minute to pass a "doomsday budget" that contained $512 million in cuts, mostly to education.

O'Malley called two special sessions in which legislators voted to approve the tax increase and gambling bills, giving the state the money it needed to roll back the doomsday cuts.

abrownfield@washingtonexaminer.com

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