UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — Another Maryland county council has approved public financing for local political candidates.

The Washington Post reports Tuesday’s Prince George’s County Council meeting stretched past midnight before the measure was passed 5-4.

Advocates say by matching small donations, it increases opportunities for candidates to run without relying on big individual or corporate donors. Bill sponsor Councilmember Mary A. Lehman says public financing allows “people to run on ideas” and bolsters democracy.

Candidates participating in the program must agree not to accept donations exceeding $250. Depending on the office they’re seeking, they must collect a certain number of qualifying contributions of $150 or less.

Opponents say the government shouldn’t fund individual campaigns.

Gov. Larry Hogan was the first gubernatorial candidate in 20 years to use the state’s public financing system in 2014.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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