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General Assembly passes legislation for additional funding for Maryland’s historically black universities

The state Senate voted unanimously to pass House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones’ legislation that would send $580 million more to the state’s four historically black colleges and universities over 10 years.

The legislation already passed the House of Delegates by a 129-2 vote. It now goes to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for his consideration.

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The money would help the schools create academic programs, expand scholarships, recruit faculty and market themselves.

The legislation is designed to force the state to settle a long-running lawsuit that alleges Maryland’s government made decisions that harmed the viability of historically black colleges and universities.

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When the Senate voted Sunday, Sen. Obie Patterson, a Prince George’s County Democrat, called the legislation “a great, great compromise bill."

”Certainly, there will be some who say we didn’t go far enough or we didn’t get as much as we could," Patterson said, before adding that he had spoken with the schools’ leaders. “They assured me they were pleased with the progress we made.”

Patterson said he was especially heartened that every Republican in the Senate voted for the legislation.

“I have never been so pleased in all my life to see all green lights on that board,” he said. “We all can come together for a common cause and do what’s right.”

Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, said the governor is open to considering a legislative solution to ending the lawsuit.

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