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Florida Judge Skeptical About Prison Privatization

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Associated Press Release

Tallahassee, Florida - November 19, 2012 - A Florida judge is raising questions about whether it was legal for the state to move ahead with a plan to privatize nearly 3,000 jobs in the state's prisons.

Circuit Judge John Cooper spent more than two hours Monday hearing a lawsuit from three unions that challenged a move by the state's prison agency to privatize prison health care operations.

Cooper did not rule from the bench, but said he needed more information before he can decide whether it was legal for an obscure legislative panel to sign off on the privatization proposal in September.

Lawyers for the unions contend that the Department of Corrections needed permission from the entire Legislature in order to spend money on the privatization plan. Agency lawyers assert that approval by the panel was legal.


Associated Press Release

Tallahassee, Florida - September 15, 2012 - Two Florida unions are suing after lawmakers decided to move ahead with a plan to privatize nearly 3,000 jobs in the state's prisons.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and a union that represents health care workers filed a suit Friday to block the state's plan. A legislative panel on Wednesday approved a proposal by Gov. Rick Scott to spend nearly $58 million to privatize prison health care operations by January. The unions -- like Democrats on the panel -- are arguing that the panel does not have the legal authority to approve the change. They say it must be approved by the entire Legislature.

But Republican legislators and lawyers with the Florida Department of Corrections have insisted that the state can move ahead with the privatization plan.


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