ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A $4.3 million expansion of pre-kindergarten has been approved by the Maryland General Assembly.

The Senate voted 46-1 for the bill Friday.

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The measure now goes to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who proposed the bill. It will enroll an additional 1,600 children around the state for children whose families make up to 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

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It also creates a pre-K expansion fund for business and philanthropic entities to contribute money to support future expansion.

The O’Malley administration says it represents a step toward expanding pre-K to all Maryland children. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is running for governor, wants to have universal pre-K in the state by 2018. His opponents for the Democratic nomination, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Delegate Heather Mizeur, also want to expand pre-K.

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