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?
Korman: Yes. I voted in favor of HB 1415, which implements the initial reforms. Next year we will address recommends adjusting the state’s funding formulas. We should tie these changes to specific revenues, something that did not occur when the Thornton Commission last addressed these education funding questions. What specific revenues would be tied to education would need to be addressed in the 2019 legislation session, as there are many options. I also voted for the education funding “lockbox” constitutional amendment, which will provide some additional funding from existing resources (SB 1122).
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?
Korman: All modes of transportation need to be supported, but I believe we should prioritize transit. I was proud to sponsor the Maryland Metro/Transit Funding Act (HB 372), which provides additional funding for both the DC and Baltimore City area transit systems. Much more needs to be done and this could include the need for more funding to pay for improved transit–and other modes–throughout the state. Infrastructure investment has bipartisan support and should be pursued aggressively.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Korman: Yes, I co-sponsored HB 1264 to put this question on the ballot.
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?
Korman: Maryland has achieved its 2017 statewide target for reducing phosphorous and sediment, but not nitrogen. The first steps Maryland must take are meeting its current goals. Moreover, Maryland has not met its urban/suburban stormwater goals for phosphorous and sediment. A detailed analysis of the pollutants going into the Bay must be undertaken so that each point and non-point source can be addressed at the source level.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Korman: Maryland’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act and All Payer hospital payment system has paid dividends. But we must continue to look at new models for healthcare, such as single payer, to ensure that our citizens have access to high quality care that they can afford. Until that occurs, Maryland must continue its interim efforts to make the individual and small group markets more affordable. I voted for legislation to establish a reinsurance program, but we must also consider following Massachusetts’ path and having a state level individual mandate to encourage market participation.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Korman: The state should continue to invest in education, Safe Streets, infrastructure, after school, and other programs in Baltimore City. The urge to “do something” by passing bumper sticker legislation is understandable, but the best way to decrease crime in Baltimore is to create jobs, improve education, and ensure people have access to safe and affordable homes. That is where the state can be helpful, while allowing Baltimore’s local government and police to do their jobs with over-arching state oversight.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Korman: Maryland’s business climate could always improve. I believe the state can help create jobs in many ways, but two specific approaches are continued investment in infrastructure and sensible prioritization in key industries in which we thrive, such as biotech, cyber security, and other industries that relate to the federal government entities in the state. Maryland can do that through targeted tax programs, centers of excellence at our institutions of higher education, investment programs such as TEDCO, and loan programs through the state Department of Commerce.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Korman: I would like to see that reform take place in every state. In the meantime, I co-sponsored the bipartisan HB 1022 to apply some sensible rules to how Congressional district lines are drawn: compactness, continuity, and respect for political subdivisions.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Korman: Although it is of the utmost important that we protect the leigitimate rights of the accused, it has seemed as though some of the procedural provisons of the Law Enforcemnt Officers Bill of Rights have made it difficult to investigate police misconduct. I would support continued work to address these issues.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Korman: There is no single strategy to address a crisis that affects every region of the state and country. Unfortunately, the latest quarterly figures from Maryland show an increase to 1,501 opiod-related deaths, up from 1,344 in 2016 and a major jump from 390 ten years ago. The issue can only be addressed through a comprehensive approach that includes changing how doctors and pharmacies provide medicated opiods, education and prevention, and significant substance abuse treatment. We must also ensure that there is sufficent access to Naloxone and that good samaritan laws allow people to help one another. But, again, this requires a much broader and forceful approach than any indivdual legislator or state can bring to the table.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Korman: The state can take significant action to address income inequality. The biggest step would be continuing to increase our investment in education and make the investment more effective. But providing affordable healthcare, universal pre-k, access to colleage, affordable housing, and access to childcare are also all, necessary steps to help those struggling to succeed and take advantage of our state’s many opportunities. There are many existing programs in these areas, but significant improvement and investment is required.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Korman: No. I have introduced legislation to improve government transparency. For example, the Board of Public Works Transparency Act (now law), requires the Board to post proposed budget cuts before adopting them. The State Board of Elections Transparency Act would have required live streaming of the Board’s meetings. The bill did not pass, but the Board does now post the audio of their meetings. HB 1281 of the current session would have required the State Highway Administration to publicly release certain documents. There is still a long way to go to improve government transparency.