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The pace picks up in Annapolis this week, as House members begin debating substantial revisions to Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed budget and committees scramble to advance or kill legislation before a deadline to get them to the Senate.

The $40.7 billion spending plan hammered out by the House Appropriations Committee hits the floor on Wednesday. It provides all the funding for K-12 schools that local officials had expected before Hogan unveiled his budget. It also restores a 2 percent pay raise he cut for state employees. In anticipation of that, state workers' and teachers' unions plan a rally Monday night on Lawyer's Mall to show their support for the House panel's budget.

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House committees also will be wading through hundreds of bills to get them to the floor or get rid of them. All legislation originating in that chamber must cross the State House hall to the Senate by March 23.

Meanwhile, the Senate starts the week by tackling a bill that would let prostitutes be found not guilty if they were victims of human trafficking and another to grant voting rights to ex-felons when released on parole. A bill likely to spark debate is one requiring strict liability for hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for natural gas in Western Maryland. And if that's not controversial enough, there's a bill that would end many Eastern Shore farmers' reliance on chicken manure to fertilize their fields, a widespread practice scientists say is polluting the Chesapeake Bay.

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