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?
Carozza: As a member of the House Appropriations Committee and as an active member in local education meetings, I have been attending the Kirwan Commission meetings focusing on career-trade-technology education which is one of the priorities of the Commission. I supported the extension of the Kirwan Commission and $200 million in the FY ‘19 budget. I support the focus of the Kirwan Commission including Pre-kindergarten expansion, teacher recruitment, and career-technology education. I also support the lockbox to ensure that casino proceeds go to education as originally promised. I am particularly concerned with putting money into the classroom in order to directly benefit the teaching professionals and students. When the Maryland Lottery was first proposed it was determined that any funds would be dedicated to education. I would propose returning to that formula.
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?
Carozza: Currently road funding is woefully behind. As a representative of a district that is predominantly rural, I will continue to work to return our Highway User funds to their rightful source to the counties and municipalities. I have been working along with Governor Hogan to restore Highway User Funds and believe that each year we have taken great strides for providing for the transportation needs of all Marylanders. This year, I joined with my colleagues to pass legislation that provides certainty and predictability beginning in FY 2020 through FY 2024 by guaranteeing at least an additional $30 million in municipal HUR funding and an additional $32 million in county HUR funding. It is my belief that before we undertake a massive project such as the Red Line that we must first repair our aging infrastructure and provide funding to finally complete construction and expansion of the Baltimore Beltway.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Carozza: No. In the midst of a Heroin/Opioid epidemic marijuana can serve as a gateway drug to more potent forms of drugs. I have arrived at this decision after consulting with law enforcement and health officials and local families.
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?
Carozza: We should build on the success of local programs and partnerships including the work of non profits like the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. In additionthe State should continue to adequately fund the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund as was done in the FY 19 Budget at $52.9 million.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Carozza: The Maryland General Assembly and Governor Hogan worked to protect Marylanders from a dramatic 50% increase in their health insurance rates. House Bill 1795- Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - Establishment of a reinsurance Program creates the structure for a reinsurance program to be administered by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE), which is predicted to help stabilize rates for the next several years. I voted for this bill and the Governor has signed it into law.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Carozza: All State law enforcement agencies should continue to serve in a supporting role to Baltimore law enforcement. I also believe HB 291/SB 1131 - Criminal Law - Prohibitions, Prosecutions and Corrections, which makes it easier to prosecute high volume drug dealers, will be a useful deterrent to violent crime. Also, legislation that increases the penalties for witness intimidation from 5 to 10 years will help address the violence in Baltimore. Both of these bills passed this Session.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Carozza: In my District it is absolutely essential that we have a business climate competitive with Delaware and Virginia. I have consistantly supported policies and voted for initiatives that improve Maryland’s business economy including regulatory relief, tax relief and a proactive partnership with our local jurisdictions to retain and attract businesses to Maryland. I have been working with area employers and local school systems to establish Career Trades Technology Education to develop a skilled workforce and to ensure that our students have the necessary skills to meet the requirements of our employers. I have a 100% rating from the Maryland Business for Responsive Government and have received the Maryland Retailers Association Award.
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?
Carozza: For the most part, I believe the current Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balances the protections for police and the public. Since I am aware that there are some flaws, I would be willing to consider some changes to improve the current policy after consultation with stakeholders affected by the policy.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Carozza: As a member of the House Health Appropriations Committee and a member of the Worcester Opioid Intervention team, I have been working with Governor Hogan’s Administration, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and local stakeholder on a comprehensive strategy to strengthen education, prevention, treatment and recovery infrastructure, and law enforcement. I also believe that those who helped create this mess should ultimately pay for its clean up.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Carozza: Addresssing income inequality starts with education. We empower all families by continuing to support historic levels of funding for Pre-Kindergarten - 12 and support the priorities of the Kirwan Commission which includes Pre-K expansion, teacher recruitment and Career Trade Technology Education. Geographical disparity in education has to be addressed to ensure an even playing field so that students - regardless of where they live - are equally and adequately prepared to succeed in an ever increasingly competitive job market.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Carozza: No. I favor ever increasing transparency and will strive to see that all meetings of the General Assembley and it various committees and subcommittees be televised and available on the web.