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.
James Clark Jr. (D), incumbent, 63, of 10380 Rte. 108, Ellicott City, a Maryland state senator since 1959, has been president of the Senate for three years. A farmer, he has chaired the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and served on Finance and Nominations committees. He also has been a member of two commissions on pension policy.
Sentences: Would support sentencing guidelines rather than mandatory sentences, the guidelines to apply to violent crimes, repeat offenders, handgun violations and offenses. Either 16-year old criminals should be tried as adults, if the offense warrants, or another facility built so that the jail terms can be served. The public should not be harassed by 16-and 17-year olds unafraid of going to jail.
Spending: Almost every area of the state could use more money if we had it to spare. The problem is deciding which areas to cut, since we face tighter budgets. I think the priorities should be in human services, public services, maintenance and public facilities repair. Almost every program has a vocal constituency, and the hard part is cutting anything at all.
Legislation: 1) Beverage container deposit laws similar to those proposed in previous sessions. 2) Nuclear freeze resolution, which I sponsored last session and which passed the Senate but failed in the House.