The House of Delegates, trying to keep Gov. William Donald Schaefer from wresting more control over spending the state's money, yesterday overrode his veto of a bill that limits his discretion over one of Maryland's special reserve funds.
If the Senate agrees to the override, the first in several years, Schaefer will have to obtain legislators' permission before disbursing the contents of what is essentially one of the state's savings accounts.
Until now, the governor has had to inform legislators -- but not get their prior approval -- when he draws on the $50 million fund that contains, among other things, money to reimburse depositors who lost funds in the 1985 savings and loan crisis.
At the General Assembly's opening session Wednesday, the bill appeared likely to spark the first test of wills this season between the legislative and executive branches over the bounds of their authority.
Schaefer's aides said the bill "seemed to invade" his budgetary discretion, while lawmakers contended the governor was trying to broaden his spending authority improperly. But the governor acquiesced the next day, saying he had decided to follow advice to avoid a fight with the legislature.
In the House yesterday, there was no debate before the unanimous vote.