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Hillary Clinton Finds A Friend in O'Malley
Other states are also considering the idea as a way to avoid a scenario where a candidate wins the most votes nationwide but loses the election, as Democrat Al Gore did in 2000.
Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert), the minority leader, said the legislature was rushing into a huge change with little debate or study. He proposed creating a blue-ribbon commission of Democrats and Republicans to make recommendations.
"Don't change our Constitution by passing it with a back-door solution," O'Donnell said. If a Democrat had more votes than a Republican in Maryland, but the Republican had more votes nationally, Maryland would have to give its electors to the Republican, he said.
But Democrats said Maryland, which would be the first state to approve the change, should start a dialogue on the issue.
"We will be free to change our minds if we wish to, but the very fact that we are going first means that we are starting a serious national discussion," said Del. Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery), the majority leader.
-- Lisa Rein
Senate Severely Trims Oyster Restoration Fund
The Senate gutted the state's oyster restoration program in the House capital budget bill yesterday, one of 31 amendments made to the $871 million budget blueprint the House offered.
The Senate deleted a $9.2 million expansion of the oyster production facility at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horne Point Laboratory near Cambridge. The project is a priority of House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel).
The news didn't go over well in the House, where Busch has made the bay one of his priorities. "Maryland is the steward of the Chesapeake Bay, and a healthy Bay is critical to the region's economy and environment," he said yesterday.
He said he is confident that the funding will be restored during conference committee.
The Senate also changed the way funds are allotted to public schools for construction projects. After an emotional discussion in committee last week, a decision was made to use the same process used when Parris N. Glendening (D) was governor: allow a committee to disperse the funds.
-- Ovetta Wiggins