Candidates 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.
Mary Bowen (R), 54, of 13106 Estelle Rd., Silver Spring, has 10 years experience in citizen lobbying in the U.S. Congress and the Maryland legislature. She was a delegate to the White House Conference on Families in 1980 and has headed Citizens United for Responsible Education, a county education reform group, since 1975.
Sentences: Murder, mayhem, rape, assassination, attempted assassination, crimes committed with handguns and certain drunk driving offenses. Juvenile offenders should be kept separate from hardened, adult criminals, saving them from being subjected to bad influences and possible physical harm. Whether or not a maximum security facility should be built depends on the cost involved. If it would be more economical to enlarge or redesign an existing facility for the separate accommodation of juvenile offenders, then that is the course which should be pursued.
Spending: Stop spending money for the purpose of increasing the bulk of an already oversized, suffocating bureaucracy. Phase out costly, redundant, duplicative commissions. Members of the General Assembly should not have granted themselves a $2,500 pay raise while so many Marylanders were asked to "bite the bullet." The pay raise should be rescinded for an actual cost saving to the taxpayer and for its symbolic value as well. If there is any category where more money should be spent, it should be in education -- primarily at kindergarten through 12th grade levels, enabling a realistic cut in class sizes and reasonable teacher salaries. An investment in a good education for Maryland's children is the best possible investment that the Maryland legislature can make.
Legislation: 1) Reduce and limit the number of bills that can be submitted for consideration in the annual legislative session of the General Assembly. 2) Require that the members of the State Board of Education be elected by the people of Maryland instead of being appointed by the governor. (Since the State Board of Education enacts bylaws which have the full force of law in all local school jurisdictions, state school board members should be responsible to the people and answerable to them by way of the election process.) 3) Change the present "back door" method of raising salaries of the General Assembly by requiring a clear "up or down" floor vote on the issue by the members themselves.
Idamae T. Garrott (D), incumbent, 65, of 13115 Estelle Rd., Wheaton, a member of the House since 1979, serves on Ways and Means, Energy and several agriculture committees. She also chairs the Montgomery County delegation's tax committee. She was a member of the Montgomery County Council for eight years and served as president in 1971.
Sentences: I support mandatory sentences for crimes committed with firearms. In the last session I voted for mandatory sentences for drug pushers, and also for burglars to be included in the three-time loser law for mandatory sentences. I would have to look selectively at proposals for other mandatory sentences, as I have in the past. I favor a secure facility for juvenile offenders. Such a facility would benefit society. When hard-core offenders and juveniles who have committed lesser crimes are in the same facility, that facility can become a "school for crime." The absence of a secure facility can cause juveniles to be tried as adults simply because there is no secure facility for them; this may not be in the best interest of either society or the juvenile. For these reasons I think a security facility is essential.
Spending: The revenue picture in Maryland is cloudy because of federal budget cuts which affect grants to the states, federal tax laws and proposed New Federalism transfers. Maryland will have to cope with federal budgetary cuts affecting individuals and restore monies for those who are most vulnerable, such as the elderly, the sick, the handicapped and children. As we cope with what may be a shortage of revenues caused by a depressed economy and federal cuts, we must allocate our revenues far more carefully, establishing our priorities better than we have in the past. My priorities are for the health, education, housing and security of our citizens. Clean air, clean water and a good environment are priceless Maryland assets. Protecting them also would be one of my foremost priorities.
Legislation: 1) Probate code changes to make available clear, understandable instructional materials about probate; to require that requests to the court for compensation itemize the time spent on probate matters and that compensation be fair and reasonable; and to increase the value of estates not exempt from formal probate procedures. 2) Condominium legislation setting up a Condominium Reconciliation Commission to provide consumer protection for condominium unit owners and, at the same time, provide for fairness to management. Each county would operate its own commission under guidance of the state commission. Local commissions would resolve disputes between unit owners and management. The state commission would propose needed legislation to resolve condominium problems. 3) Legislation establishing a people's counsel for insurance. The insurance commissioner currently is both the judge and the citizens' advocate when it comes to such insurance matters as rate increases. It is difficult for the commissioner to wear two hats. Consumers need a citizen advocate.
Lucille Maurer (D), incumbent, 59, of 1023 Forest Glen Rd., Silver Spring, a delegate since 1969, chairs the Education Committee and serves on Ways and Means. And economist, she has served on state commissions on school finance for 10 years, was a member of the Montgomery County School Board and has been a trustee of Montgomery College.
Sentences: (a) Mandatory sentences: I supported mandatory sentences on a selective basis, including "three-time losers" convicted of crimes of violence and repeat offenders convicted of drug distribution or handgun violations. Generally I prefer to give judges discretion in sentencing. However, I expect to continue to support exceptions to the general rule. (b) Juvenile maximum security facility: I do not know whether we need a maximum security facility for juveniles. There is an item in the budget to study the need for such a facility. I will consider the recommendations of the departmental task force now at work before reaching a decision. I am concerned that the most difficult juveniles are said to be waived to adult courts and adult corrections facilities because the state lacks the facilities and the programs for them in the juvenile system.
Spending: State expenditures must be reviewed in the context of state revenues and of changes in federal programs and federal funding levels and changing conditions within Maryland. Although it will be impossible for the state to replace all the federal monies, there are some programs, such as special education for the handicapped and alcoholism programs, which the state should fund as fully as possible. In addition, job creation and job retraining programs should have a high priority in state spending. To have sufficient funds to achieve these goals the legislature must continue its efforts to cut costs through legislative oversight, program evaluation, stringent budget reviews, emphasis upon health care cost containment, etc. It also will be necessary to stay within the broad spending affordability targets which the legislature develops on an annual basis.
Legislation: Three examples of legislation: 1) One of the major concerns of the next General Assembly will be a response to the court of appeals decision on school finance. Whatever the outcome, I favor the inclusion of a cost-of-education index to adjust for variations in the purchasing power of an educational dollar. Montgomery County and several other jurisdictions would benefit from such a correction in the distribution of state dollars. 2) I will support interstate efforts -- such as compacts which require legislative enactment -- to dispose of hazardous wastes and to increase the productivity of the Chesapeake Bay. 3) Extend "circuit breaker" tax benefits to more renters. Currently only elderly or disabled renters are eligible.
Jay B. Neptune (R), 26, of 14828 Layhill Rd., Silver Spring, is a teller at the Bank of Bethesda. He served a five-year tour of duty in the Navy and has worked as a long-haul truck driver, a salesman and an assistant manager. He is a member of several Republican clubs and was active in the Reagan/Bush presidential campaign in 1980.
Sentences: Repeat offenders, certain convictions for drug selling, use of firearms in the commission of a felony and certain sex offenses. Yes, Maryland should build a maximum security facility for juvenile offenders. A facility such as this should be able to administer to the needs of the inmates in all situations. It is needed to separate the hardened juvenile offender from those whose crimes are less serious and who stand a good chance of rehabilitation.
Spending: By ending most of the political patronage we could spend less money. Using the increase in the gas taxes, we can increase the expenditure on road and bridge maintenance. We also could spend less money if we prohibited state and county agencies from public propaganda. Since becoming a candidate for the House of Delegates, I have been bombarded by letters, questionnaires and publications from such agencies, all of which are spending tax dollars.
Legislation: At this time I do not propose legislation. That decision will come after the election, and will be based on the needs of the citizens of the 19th District and the state of Maryland. With over 3,000 pieces of legislation during the last session of the legislature, I believe there is no need for more from me at this time.
Joseph E. Owens (D), incumbent, 64, of 13619 Grenoble Dr., Rockville, a member of the House since 1971, chairs the Judiciary Committee. An attorney and retired Army officer, he has served on state and local commissions on judicial reform, criminal justice, medical malpractice, the Equal Rights Amendment, drunk driving and domestic relations.
Sentences: Mandatory sentences for use of a handgun in commission of a felony, second offense of carrying a handgun without a permit, second offense of drug distribution and for three- and four-time losers are already in the law. These are the areas where mandatory sentences are most effective and needed, and I would not further extend mandatory sentences at this time. To make all sentences mandatory has the effect of making none mandatory and moves the judging from the judges to others in the justice system. I favor and have advocated a secure facility for juvenile offenders. No such facility presently exists and this makes it almost mandatory for the juvenile judges to waive those juveniles needing confinement to the adult system when continued jurisdiction in the juvenile system would be more effective. The lack of a secure facility for juveniles eliminates one of the most effective tools -- confinement -- from the juvenile justice system.
Spending: The determination of where the state government should spend more or less money is too dependent on the new changes in federal programs to be made at this time. The effects of the New Federalism will make it necessary for the legislature to review all programs to determine where savings may be made and whether any can be eliminated before state funds can be increased for any of them. I do favor additional funds to corrections so that adequate bed space may be provided in our prison system for those sentenced to confinement. This is a continuing and growing problem and must be addressed now. I would include funds to provide a secure juvenile facility at this time.
Legislation: I will be introducing numerous bills involving the justice system, criminal law, domestic relations, juvenile law, etc. Three specific pieces of legislation I intend to introduce are: 1) one to clarify the status of stepchildren in cases involving the marital home; 2) one to plug a gap in our wiretap law, and 3) one to continue in Maryland law the "necessaries doctrine".
Herbert Rosenberg (R), 61, of 14225 Peartree La., Silver Spring, has been a sales representative for D.C. Wholesale Beverages for 25 years. He has 35 years of active and reserve service in the Army and has been a post commander in the American Legion, director of the Civil Affairs Association in D.C. and a member of the D.C. Republican Central Committee.
Sentences: Using any weapon in the commission of a crime -- the crime itself to be tried separately, even if the criminal is in jail for use of the weapon/drunk driving when a person is injured or killed. I would propose a state minimum security facility for minimum or white-collar offenders, with emphasis on orientation; early parole for good conduct; and counseling and orientation looking to the positive, with the knowledge that a repeat offense will send them to a major, adult and less desirable outlook.
Spending: Less in areas of enlarging the state bureaucracy. More in every area necessary to maintain necessary and properly run programs to take up the slack created by the New Federalism -- and, if necessary, underwritten by a one percent sales tax increase.
Legislation: 1) Rescind in these times of recession the $2,500 pay raise members of the Assembly voted for themselves, to go into effect January 1983. 2) To protect and increase jobs for Marylanders, laws denying any employment for illegal aliens; "work-fare" programs tied to highway construction funds and programs supported by the new increase in gasoline taxes still to come; more state purchases from viable Maryland businesses. 3) A Maryland Initiative 9 that will tighten mandatory sentencing for crimes with weapons and other serious crimes; and in the interest of society at large and the individuals who will suffer, detention until trial of those apprehended in the act of a crime with a weapon in their possession.