ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley has signed his first bill of the year, expanding the state's pre-kindergarten program to another 1,600 children from low-income families.
The ceremony was held Tuesday, hours after the General Assembly session ended.
O'Malley included $4.3 million in next year's budget to fund the expansion, but it took an act of the legislature to put his plan in action.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is running for governor, called the measure another step toward universal pre-K, a major theme of his campaign.
O'Malley also signed bills on dog bite liability, highway carpool lane use and ignition interlocks for people convicted of drunken driving with children in the vehicle. He put off higher-profile bills, including a minimum wage hike and marijuana decriminalization, for coming weeks.
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