WUFT News

Judge rules on Scott’s prison health care privatization plan, sends to Legislature

By and on December 5th, 2012

A Tallahassee judge ruled Tuesday that a legislative committee did not have the authority to approve a contract regarding prison health care services.

According to Businessweek, the plan would privatize health care services in three of Florida’s four prison system regions. Circuit Judge John Cooper, who made the decision, said the policy changes must be approved by the full Legislature, rather than just a panel of 14 select legislators.

Alma Gonzalez, special council for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said this ruling allows more politicians to voice their opinions on the matter because the public has the right to know how the private prison industry works.

“What’s important is that the court order underlines that principle that the governor cannot play fast and loose with Florida’s constitution,” she said. “If he wants to let privateers make profit from prisoners he’s going to have to play by the rules.”

The plan will amend the general appropriations bill and move over $200 million into a private contract, Gonzalez said. Her main complaint is that the change would destabilize families and affect lives.

“Hundreds of thousands of public employees, their lives hang in the balance and we would like for the governor to stop now and stabilize this system with regard to healthcare providers in the prison,” she said.

According to the Associated Press, privatization plans were challenged by three unions representing about 2,600 state employees who feared for their jobs after prison officials were given permission to outsource from the Legislative Budget Commission.

Though, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration said it plans on appealing the decision.

“This ruling is wrong and puts in jeopardy nearly $90 million over the next two years that could be used to fund critical priorities – including increasing K-12 education funding,” Scott spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said, according to the Associated Press. “We are working with the Department of Corrections to appeal the decision and protect hundreds of other state jobs that the department could be forced to eliminate if they lose nearly $90 million in expected savings.”

 


This entry was posted in Florida, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

First Magnitude Brewing Company in Gainesville fills growlers in the 32-ounce size (left) and the gallon size (right). A longstanding ban on the popular 64-ounce growler prevents Florida craft breweries from filling or selling containers of that size.

Lawmakers Pass Bill To Aid Craft Brewers, End Growler War

Senate Bill 186 could end a long war between craft brewers and big beverage distributors over regulation of beer sales. The bill lifts the problematic requirement that craft breweries operate as tourist attractions and allows the breweries to sell beer in the popular 64-ounce, refillable “growler.”


The FSU Veterans Center is pushing for a bill to allow student veterans to pay in-state tuition. The attention their cause has received nationwide has given them hope they may succeed this year.

Bill Passed To Let Child Rape Victims Record Attackers

The Florida Legislature is sending Gov. Rick Scott a bill that would let children who are victims or potential victims of rape and other violent acts secretly record their attackers. The bill applies to victims who are under the age of 18.


bell7

Abortion Waiting Period Bill Goes To Florida Governor

A bill to require a 24-hour waiting period for abortions is headed to Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. The Senate voted 26-13 for the measure Friday after about an hour of debate.


The Alachua County Clerk of Court, located at 201 East University Ave., remained closed Saturday, April 18 during Operation Green Light. Assistant Clerk of Court Edward Stiles said that it would be too expensive to remain open for the promotion.

Waived Fees Help Drivers Save Money On Traffic Citations

As an effort to help traffic violators pay off citations, Clerks in the state of Florida initiated the money saving opportunity Operation Green Light. On Saturday, Alachua County hosted the promotion to waive fees to help residents cut the cost on paying off their citations.


Screen Shot

UF Students Welcome Bill Proposing Tax-Free Textbooks

A new law in Florida could help students save money on expensive textbooks. The bill looks to eliminate the sales tax from textbooks to give students a break on the hundreds they already spend on required texts.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments