The 81 to 45 vote in the House of Delegates came amid debate on scores of bills as lawmakers moved to wrap up one of the busiest 90-day sessions in many years.
The House and Senate plan to complete work on hundreds of pieces of legislation — including measures on medical marijuana, campaign finance and early voting — during marathon meetings Monday. But the heaviest lifting is behind them.
The final votes on the state’s $37 billion budget came Friday, and most of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s priorities — including gun-control legislation, a gas-tax increase and repeal of the death penalty — have been approved. Bills have also been passed in recent days to target cyberbullying and to make limited driver’s licenses available to illegal immigrants.
This year’s relatively clear path to adjournment stands in marked contrast to the situation a year ago, when brinkmanship over the state budget and gambling legislation led to the session’s collapse on an acrimonious final night. O’Malley (D) wound up summoning lawmakers back to Annapolis for two special sessions to finish their work.
“We’ve made a conscious effort not to repeat what occurred last year,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert). “All the major bills are passed. We’ve had a very productive year. . . . It’s like the Age of Aquarius. Everything came together.”
Miller’s chamber met late on Friday to avoid a Saturday session and is scheduled to reconvene early on Monday.
The House vote Saturday to give Baker partial control over Maryland’s second-largest school system followed several days of give-and-take behind the scenes.
Several key lawmakers, including House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), balked at Baker’s initial request to put him, rather than an elected school board, in charge of the superintendent and the system’s $1.7 billion budget.
The compromise measure, approved last week by the Senate, would allow Baker to select the superintendent, appoint three members to the school board and name the board chair and vice chair.
Baker, who was in Annapolis on Saturday, said the compromise plan was a step in the right direction for a system that is searching for its eighth superintendent in 14 years.
“It puts more accountability on our office,” he said. “It’s not everything we wanted but a good chunk of what we asked for.”
Only one delegate from Prince George’s — Aisha N. Braveboy (D) — voted against the bill. Most of the other opponents were Republicans, but six Democrats from Montgomery County also opposed Baker’s move.