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?
Beyer: I support the findings of the Kirwan Commission.
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?
Beyer: No, it is not. The primary focus should be mass transit, not only WMATA and the Purple Line, as well as the advent of Montgomery County BRT, but the Baltimore region, as a major metropolitan area, should have a first class mass transit system as well. The state does have the resources, if it wants to find them, and we can raise gas taxes again as necessary.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Beyer: Yes. The tax revenues should be used to shore up the health care system and public 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?
Beyer: We seem to be improving our regional political climate, as evidenced by the recent agreement to provide a guaranteed funding stream for WMATA, so we can extend that to the Bay as we have in the past. We need to maintain and improve our stormwater and septic tank efforts. Dealing with chicken farm manure disposal is still a major problem. While the trump regime is not supportive, our regional Congressional and Senate delegation is stepping up as best they can.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Beyer: We should work to come as close as we can to a functional single payer system, while advocating for the United States to join the league of industrial and post-industrial nations which all use some form of a single payer system.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Beyer: Reform the bail bond system. Reform the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights and bring civilian review back into the oversight system. Work closely with the police to educate them on dealing with various minority communities, including those with mental disabilities. Empower the residents who live in the communities most exposed to violence to develop structures – community schools, after-school program, job training – to offer their residents an alternative path. Legalize marijuana and develop harm reduction models for substance abusers to mitigate the damage caused by the drug war.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Beyer: It’s better than the Republican party would have us believe. We need to add more vo-tech and coding programs in high school. We should develop incubators on the model of the Y-Combinator in California to encourage the risk-taking necessary to create new, innovative programs. We should encourage tax credits for entrepreneurs, including relief from capital gains taxes similar to the federal JOBS Act. The Amazon HQ2 package includes reasonable incentives, as far as I can tell.
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?
Beyer: No, it does not. There should not be a special layer of due process – cooling off periods, adequate breaks not offered to other defendants, investigation by other police, informing officers of the complainants and their testimony before questioning, the use of a hearing board before a final decision is made, maintenance of salary and benefits during suspensions, purging of complaints and investigative reports after three years. If there is no effort to implement these changes, then we should consider adding these special layers of due process for everyone instead.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Beyer: Support a harm reduction model - this includes the following: Make naloxone available in all health-care facilities and EMT/paramedic teams. Create safe injection sites with adequate medical supervision. Allow drug checking for individuals to anonymously submit drug samples (critical given all the tainted drugs being injected by users ignorant of the makeup of the drugs being injected. Offer Medication Treatment, whereby heroin is replaced by a longer-acting but less euphoric opioid. Work to educate the public about opioid overdose, and encourage health-care facilities to participate so that the public develops increased trust in the system.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Beyer: Ensure that corporations pay their taxes – close the combined reporting loophole. Rebuild the state’s estate tax, which should not be on a glide path to repeal. De-linking from the federal scale and limiting the ceiling to $5 million is insufficient. Re-create a more progressive income tax, such as recreating a higher bracket, formerly known as the millionaire’s bracket. Bring the Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage to a successful outcome.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Beyer: No, they don’t. I worked with then-Delegate Heather Mizeur in 2009 to improve transparency and accountability. The effort resulted in recording/live-streaming of chamber hearings and votes, putting committee votes online, and trying to get all delegation meetings and votes live-streamed. There is also a need to reform the system for committee testimony, which greatly inconveniences the residents of our state who come to Annapolis to lobby but often have to spend an entire day waiting for their three minutes. The legislature’s website needs to be upgraded and made more user-friendly.