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?
Glenn: The stated Commission is more commonly known as the Kirwan Commission, House Bill 1415, and was strongly supported by me. The bill passed and the funding will begin in the fall of 2018. It is important to understand that the work of the Kirwan Commission is not yet complete; they requested and were approved for additional time to make final recommendations to the legislature on how to improve Maryland’s public education funding system. HB1415 also advances some of the early recommendations of the Commission including a comprehensive teacher recruitment and outreach program, early childhood education programs, and extended day academic programs. I also strongly support the recommendations of the Knott Commission, which focuses on school facilities. Education is the ticket out of poverty and the State of MD must ensure a good, free public education to all children according to the State Constitution. Our children must be equipped with the tools needed to make sure they can compete in the world, whether it is by way of higher education degrees and certifications, or in the world of career technical education and vocational skilled trades. Funding education must always be a priority for the State budget. Additionally, we must also use every opportunity available to supplement the State budget as the legislature did this past Session with HB1697, the Education Lockbox bill. This bill will provide for a ballot question in this year’s elections for a constitutional amendment to ensure that revenue from casino gaming will be specifically earmarked for education.
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?
Glenn: Our State transportation spending continues to be a political football. Many of us disagree with the Governor that it is not a wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars to simply widen 295 and it took far too many years to decide to rebuild the Nice Bridge, now to be named in honor of Senator Middleton. This is the reason why the legislature passed a bill in the 2017 Session that required a specific scoring system for all transportation projects. It is always critical that the taxpayers are allowed to have much needed input into discussions that focus on transportation projects in local jurisdictions; this was not the case with the Governor’s decision to cancel the Red Line project and instead replace it with a poorly thought out BaltimoreLink system that created havoc with Baltimore’s public transportation. The Mobility System is in serious need of improvement for our disabled community. Again, a much needed first step for any decisions regarding transportation needs and improvements, is to have a well thought program of providing a system of public discussions and debates so as to determine what the public needs are.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Glenn: I do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana at this time for the State of Maryland. Since being elected in 2006, I have been focused on ensuring that citizens in our state have access to a well constructed program of medical marijuana. In 2014, I was successful in getting legislation passed that established the medical marijuana program that we now have in our state. That legislation required the Medical Marijuana Commission to actively seek racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity when making decisions on the awarding of licenses. Unfortunately, the Commission, which is named after my Mother, the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission, failed miserably to live up to the requirements of the legislation. 15 licenses were awarded for Growers, and 15 licenses were awarded for Processors and only one company was owned by African Americans. Not only was there no diversity, the geographic diversity was also non-existent. As a result, one of the priorities of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland under my leadership, was to have additional legislation enacted that would ensure the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity needed for the State of Maryland. This Session we were successful in getting House Bill 2 passed as emergency legislation and it is now awaiting the signature of the Governor to be effective immediately. I am very proud of the work we did in a truly bipartisan way to make sure that the Medical Cannabis program in the State of Maryland is an example for the country to follow.
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?
Glenn: I am very proud of the efforts the State of Maryland has made over the years to continue to protect the Chesapeake Bay. We recognized how very important the oyster habitation is to the cleanliness of the Bay and we enacted laws needed to protect and strengthen that system. We also enacted what came to be known as the “Rain Tax” so that the proper protections would be developed when considering impervious surfaces. We have also ensured that all jurisdictions have appropriate plans in place to make sure that any development projects have protections in place for any runoff possibilities of toxic materials into the Bay. It is imperative that we continue to try to promote and encourage a regional system of plans to protect the Bay with our neighboring states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, D.C., New Jersey, and New York. Efforts of such planning have been attempted over the years, but those efforts are not as successful as we would hope because those states, in large part, have not focused, as Maryland has, on protecting the Bay. We must continue to encourage our Congressional Delegation to make every effort to make protecting the Bay the priority that it should be.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Glenn: I am very proud of the work that the Maryland State Legislature has done over the years to make sure that our citizens have affordable health care. We passed legislation to make sure that our citizens who were uninsured, were able to sign up for health insurance as a result of the much needed reform of Obamacare. We have also passed legislation to make sure that our children have access to health care regardless of the economic status of their parents/guardians through our CHIP Program. Several years ago, when it became an issue that far too many children did not have access to dental prevention and attention, we passed legislation to make sure that the majority of our children would not suffer the devastating effects of the inability to have the proper access to good dental programs. We also passed legislation in the 2017 Session to expand the authority of our Attorney General to allow him/her to bring lawsuits, if needed, against pharmaceutical companies for price gouging of prescription drugs. This was a first in the country. In the 2018 Session, we passed House Bill 1782 Health Insurance - Individual Market Stabilization (Maryland Health Care Access Act of 2018) and House Bill 1795 Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - Establishment of a Reinsurance Program . Both bills were signed into law by the Governor. These bills continue to protect Maryland citizens against the devastating decisions of the Federal Government in their continued attempts to derail the Obamacare program.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Glenn: I am very proud of the collaborative efforts made in the 2018 Session to not only take steps to increase penalties and hold accountable violent repeat offenders who possess guns in the commission of violent crimes, but we also were able to include in the budget $41.6 million of funding for programs that have successful records in preventing acts of violence, such as Safe Streets and Outward Bound. Since the Police Department is a State Agency, we have a responsibility to ensure that our law enforcement officers operate in such a manner that the public would have the level of trust needed to assist where and when needed with crime prevention. This comes through proper multi-cultural training and having an appropriate Civilian Review Board, that includes representatives of the public. We must continue to appropriately fund witness intimidation programs so that the public will not be fearful of being informants of those who ravage our streets with crime. More importantly, the State must adequately fund education and recreation so that our children have the skills and talents needed to keep them in positive productive programs that monopolize their time. Jobs, jobs, and more jobs are needed for our young people during the summer, and for our adult population. If people don’t have employment opportunities, then they are more likely to turn to criminal acts in order to provide for their homes. There are long-term needs and short-term needs that we must continue to develop in order to reduce crime.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Glenn: Maryland’s business climate is good but can be better. Ensuring that we have an appropriate minimum wage, state-wide, is an essential element of a good business climate. Now that the Legislature has ensured that most workers will have paid sick leave, and if we can pass a bill that will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, that will go a long way to taking proper care of our workers. Businesses are more successful when the workers have decent salaries and working conditions. The workers make it a priority to give their very best to the job if the job shows that it cares about the workers. Workers can then take care of their families, and purchase goods and services locally; most importantly they can buy homes which supports the tax base for the localities. As a state, we must continue to explore how we can best compete for lucrative businesses that will bring more jobs to our state. For example, Amazon, Offshore Wind and Medical Cannabis, are extremely lucrative businesses that have the potential to employ thousands of Maryland citizens, but we must ensure that all of our citizens can compete for the jobs. It is also extremely important that we improve the preparation and training of our returning citizens so that employment is almost a guarantee; this will make it more likely for these citizens to have the necessary means to provide for themselves and their families and not return to crime.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Glenn: Absolutely! I strongly believe that a non-partisan commission should be established that would include members of the legislature from both the Democratic and Republican parties, representatives of the faith community, community activists/leaders, representatives of the NAACP, the ACLU, labor unions, and others that may be appropriate. The mission should be to propose legislative and congressional district maps that make more sense that what we currently have for our districts. It should be a priority to make sure that the districts should have a like community of interests. It is also very important that the districts should allow for the citizens to have easy access to their representatives.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Glenn: The LEOBR absolutely needs to be changed. There must be a better way of ensuring that all officers are held accountable and responsible for their actions. The Police Commissioner is held accountable for all of the officers, as a result, the Commissioner must be able to, if needed, apply disciplinary actions, including up to termination, as an end result of any officers found guilty of egregious and heinous actions. The Civilian Review Board must be strengthened by the addition of additional representatives of the public in order to build trust in the community. Without the trust of the community, it is very difficult for law enforcement officers to successfully discharge their duties.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Glenn: Treatment not incarceration is one of the many options to address this issue. Life saving drugs need to be available in every jurisdiction; and people who have loved ones who are addicted, need to be trained for emergency application of these live saving drugs. There should never be a limited supply of life saving drugs, as we are now experiencing. There should also be more investigations of doctors who over prescribe addictive drugs, without appropriate monitoring of those drugs. There are studies that show positive results when using Medical Cannabis to treat opioid addiction and as result, the State of Maryland should add opioid addiction as a qualifying condition for treatment.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Glenn: First and foremost, the State of Maryland needs to recognize and accept the fact that in our state government, we have far too many cases of income inequality. A task force needs to be commissioned and charged with the responsibility of taking a comprehensive look at this issue. The results of the task force should then be developed into legislation that would begin to put measures in place to decrease and ultimately eliminate income inequality. Once this process is in place, the State needs to look at how to best use the same system for private industry, and perhaps use incentives to engage businesses to use best practices to eliminate income inequality.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Glenn: I believe that Maryland’s Public Information Act should be strengthened by making it easier, as long as the proper justification is presented, for the general public to obtain information. I do believe that Maryland has done a very good job of updating our open meetings laws to help the public have more access to our legislative proceedings. Just about every meeting of the legislature is available online for those who cannot join us in Annapolis.