Candidate for the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Sentences: In what cases, if any, would you support legislation requiring judges to impose mandatory sentences? Do you feel Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders? Please explain.
Spending: In which areas of government should the state spend more money or less? Please be specific.
Legislation: Give three examples of legislation you intend to propose.
Frank J. Komenda (D), incumbent, 47, of 3509 Leslie Ave., Temple Hills, was appinted to the state Senate in January. Previously, he was a member of the House of Delegates from 1975 to 1981. A small businessman in Prince George's County for nearly 20 years, he is active in many civic, professional and political organizations.
Sentences: (a) I have supported and will continue to support mandatory sentences for commission of crimes of violence with the use of deadly weapons. I have also supported mandatory sentencing for repeat offenders of drug distribution. I do have concern for indiscriminate use of mandatory sentences for lesser offenses, as I am advised it reduces the number of convictions and encourages plea bargaining. In addition, it takes discretion away from judges, which I feel is needed in many cases. (b) I do support the construction of a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders. Unfortunately, juvenile offenders are respoonsible for a substantial portion of major crime. I feel, too, this type of facility is needed for the protection of those juvenile offenders who now must endure incarceration with adult inmates.
Spending: Maryland has an executive budget system, so members of the General Assembly cannot increase funds as proposed by the governor. However, if given the opportunity to increase spending, I would recommend two areas. The first is in prison construction and rehabilitation programs within them. Our prison facilities are critically overcrowded and our present program is one of warehousing prisoners. We must correct the overcrowded situation and develop within our prisons prgrams that are geared toward rehabilitation. The second area would be targeted toward creation and retention of jobs. I would direct more funds toward economic develoment programs that result in jobs. Specifically, I would increase the guarantee fund for loans to small and minority business, and I would increase expenditures for programs that are designed to attract and retain businesses in our state.
Legislation: 1) Legislation which provides for free auto registration for former POWs and 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans residing in Maryland. 2) Legislation which provides for free hunting and fishing privileges for former POWs and 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans residing in Maryland. 3) Legislation requested by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to provide greater protection and enforcement authority for their organization in efforts to attend to the welfare of mistreated animals.
George L. Price (R), 65, of 4 Panorama Dr., Oxon Hill, is active in the move to restore Oxon Hill Manor and has served on county draft charter and land use planning committees. He retired from the Army as a colonel in 1966, following a military career that began in one of the last horse cavalry units. Later, he retired from the federal government.
Sentences: Our system of justice must protect its citizens, not its criminals. Deterrents to crime must be used and enforced. Prison sentences ought to be mandatory for crimes committed with guns or other deadly weapons, and for crimes involving the selling of dope. Because some juvenile offenders can be rehabilitated, they should not be mingled with adult or hardened criminals. However, a maximum security prison for juveniles only does not appear necessary, and there is no proof that it will be effective in reducing the juvenile crime rate.
Spending: The 1983 Maryland budget estimates expenditures of nearly $6.2 billion; over $3.1 billion, or 51 percent, will go to education and transportation, and over $1.5 billion, or about 25 percent, will go to health and human resources. In a practically one-party state, there have been only a few nay-sayers to these tremendous proposed expenditures. Close scrutiny and application of common sense to the details of these enormous items can certainly point the way to substantial savings in these areas, without diminishing vital services in the least. Loose spending habits by the Democratic party, which has been in power far too long, can be curbed by electing to the Assembly candidates with a conservative philosophy. Legislation that reduces the tax burden on people and gives them more of their earnings to spend is needed. Good management coupled with common sense will solve problems better than throwing money at the problems.
Legislation: 1) If elected, I would propose legislation that would help create jobs in the private sector, thus providing taxes to the government and reducing unemployment costs. I want to bring in new businesses and give existing businesses a chance to expand. 2) I would propose legislation that would result in a substantial reduction in plea bargaining, and far fewer releases on bond of persons committing serious crimes or persons who have previously committed crimes. 3) Since the Supreme Court makes its decisions by a simple majority, I would propose legislation that would reduce the size of juries to fewer than 12, and eliminate the requirement for unanimous jury decisions, letting decisions be made by a simple majority or a two-thirds majority of the jurors.