Do you support the findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education? Are you committed to funding associated reforms, and if so, how?
Broccolino: I do support the findings, thus far, of the Kirwan Commission, and commit to funding to the extent State’s revenue permit. Let me make clear, I believe funding education is critical for the well being of all Marylanders - now and in the future. This Legislature’s dedicating revenue from gambling taxes is a step in the right direction. In addition to the gambling taxes “lockbox,” I would support doing the same for taxes collected on recreational marijuana, which I believe is inevitable.
Is Maryland’s transportation spending appropriately balanced between roads and transit? Does the state have the resources to meet its transportation needs? With the cancellation of the Red Line and the advent of BaltimoreLink, is the Baltimore region adequately served by transit?
Broccolino: A fully functional mass transit system is critical to the future economic growth in all parts of the State. How are low income citizens going to move up the economic ladder if they have to travel 2 hours each way to work? They either aren’t or they will not be home enough to properly care for their children. Baltimore needs a greatly expanded subway/light rail system. It would not only expand job opportunities for all residents, but reduce pollution and road congestion.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Broccolino: I believe it inevitable that recreational marijuana will be legalized. While I would personally recommend that it not be used, there is so much we don’t know about the long term effects, I would not oppose a bill that allows for legalization. I would make an effort to make the age when one could purchase/possess/use 26. Those younger that 26, would be subject to a civil penalty. Providing marijuana to someone between 18-26 would be subject to a $250 civil penalty. Supplying marijuana to someone under 18, would be a criminal offense punishable by an up to 6 months, $1,000 fine misdemeanor. The taxes collected on the sale would be in a “lockbox” for education.
At a time when the federal government’s commitment to Chesapeake Bay restoration is questionable, what new steps should Maryland take to protect this resource?
Broccolino: Provide economic incentives so chicken farmers on the shore can move to new, less polluting forms of agriculture. Take steps to limit other agricultural runoffs from entering the Bay Mandatory re-cycling in all counties and/or requiring a deposit on plastic containers if county does not do recycling Banning of Styrofoam containers Enter into agreements with neighboring states to protect the Bay.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Broccolino: This year’s legislature passed legislation that may reduce the increases forecasted for next year’s premiums. I would propose a program seeking doctors to volunteer their time and service to the Health Department. The doctors would donate their service, but the State would either self-insure or pay the premium for malpractice insurance. But the ultimate solution is a single payer system.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Broccolino: The State currently funds a number of crime fighting initiatives in the City. I would continue to support those initiatives that have demonstrated positive results. I would also support the use of Maryland State Police in Baltimore doing administrative tasks, thus freeing City police to patrol the streets - especially in high crime areas. The State should be passing tougher sentencing sanctions for violent crimes. We seem to forget about the law abiding citizens who are sentence to “house arrest” for fear of coming out of their own house.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Broccolino: I heard that Maryland ranks 32 in the country of its friendliness for attracting new business, while neighboring Virginia ranks in the top10. We have to have a better business climate to attract good paying jobs. We can do this by providing tax incentives and reducing costly regulations. But hand in hand with this, is reducing crime, improving our schools and improving transportation. We must see how all these issues are intertwined and cannot be compartmentalized and responded to the cries of special interest groups. Both political parties must put people before politics.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Broccolino: I have worked directly with police officers for over 45 years and the vast majority are honest, sincere public servants dedicated to protecting and serving the public. The police need and deserve the many protections afforded by this legislation. However, the provisions of the Bill of Rights that supersede any state, county, or municipal law, ordinance, or regulation that conflicts with the Bill of Rights; and any local legislation is preempted by the subject and material of the Bill of Rights must be changed. Local jurisdiction should be free to legislate what limitations they deem necessary for their community.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Broccolino: Education, Education, Education - starting no later than Middle School, but also programs that can be adopted by businesses for use in employee training to spot when someone is showing the symptoms of addiction. Continued training of first responders on the use of Narcan.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Broccolino: The Attorney General should be authorized to set up a unit to investigate any allegations and their should be civil penalties if the allegations are sustained.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Broccolino: I believe they do. The Courts have consistently ruled that the PIA and open meetings laws are to be liberally construed. Problems develop when those conducting the meeting or answering the PIA request are determined to obstruct public access. In those incidents the agency head should have the authority to take appropriate action against the offending actor. Another approach to insure compliance would be to authorize the Office of the State Prosecutor to investigate allegations of violations of either law.