Judge rules Florida prison privatization plan unconstitutional (Updated)
Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ruled today that the process by which the Florida Legislature pushed through a plan to privatize prisons in 18 counties was unconstitutional, writing that the Department of Corrections “proceeded without statutory authority and contrary to statutory authority” by implementing the plan.
The lawsuit was filed by the Police Benevolent Association, a union that represents corrections officers and prison guards. The Florida Independent’s Travis Pillow outlined the argument behind the union’s lawsuit last month:
The union has long questioned the financial benefits of privatization and the calculus behind the 7 percent savings mandated by Florida statutes. The lawsuit contends that by inserting the privatization measure into the budget, legislative leaders avoided a rigorous public debate on the merits of privatization, and in the process violated legal and constitutional provisions intended to keep budgetary and policy-making measures separate.
The thrust of the first argument is that the privatization scheme is a policy change that should have been enacted through separate legislation, not budget proviso language. The complaint also contends that by tying the privatization proviso to the entire set of budget items for the Department of Corrections, lawmakers essentially made the change veto-proof, because if Gov. Rick Scott had vetoed the privatization scheme, he would have struck down the department’s entire budget, a situation Article 3, Section 12 of the state constitution was designed to prevent.
Starting to get reaction from elected officials. Here’s state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey:
“I applaud the judge for her wise decision to declare the attempt at privatizing these prisons unconstitutional,” Senator Fasano states. “The Florida Legislature should not be making major policy decisions by inserting last minute proviso language into the budget, thus circumventing the committee process. An issue as important as prison privatization should have been given the chance for thoughtful debate in the substantive committees that oversee this issue.”
“I congratulate the hard working correctional officers who have scored a major victory with this ruling,” Senator Fasano continues. “These fine individuals, who put their lives at stake each day as they run Florida’s prisons, deserve the ruling that has been handed down today.”
This provision was written and authored not by the legislature but by ALEC, the dreaded American Legislative Exchange Council, that promotes private prisons.
They were also responsible for the mandatory sentences for people caught using drugs. The owners of these private prison systems bill the state and federal Gov 10′s of thousands of dollars for longer maintenance of prisoners
thereby profiting huge amounts of money off of each prisoner.
The owners of these prison systems write the laws and then hand them to the legislators to be slipped through the legislation process. Many times in the dark of night.
ALEC is the broker that buts the business interest in the hands of the lawmaker and collects huge profits for getting the wishes of Big Business accomplished, usually in the dark of night and unaware to the public.
They are tightly aligned with the Koch Bros and the John Birch Society.
Their dirty underhanded work has been going on for 30 years unannounced
to the public at large.
It got it’s real boost and power after Ronald Reagan got into office, and the public has suffered ever since.
PRIVATIZATION does not work for the AMERICAN TAXPAYER with the repugs in charge. The repugs promised MORE FOR LESS, they promised to make govt more efficient by running it like a business. THE REPUG ideas of Trickle Down economics, failed to grow the economy. There are many instances where privateers have overcharged the govt, produced shoddy work for the dollars paid and bilked american taxpayers. Private mercenaries, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming back to the states wounded and being denied their benefits from private contractors, overwhelming the SS system with disability claims. There is not one instance that privatization has produce more for less. And most of all, running govt like a business like the Bushies did: corrupted the federal institutions, degraded govt services, and populated govt agencies with incompetence and waste. The office of Mineral management comes to mind, where the govt staff were the whores of the industries instead of the watch dogs. John S is right. ALEC is poisoning our democracy and spreading their contagion across the country. SOS. Save our democracy, occupy Main Street and Serve our country by getting rid of the purveyors of the TPARTY NATION who would base our society on Social Darwinism and return our nation to the DARK AGES where all the decisions came from the Manor House monarchs and the people worked in vain.
[...] Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford on 9/30/2011 ruled that the process by which the Florida Legislature pushed through a plan to privatize prisons in 18 counties was unconstitutional, writing that the Department of Corrections “proceeded without statutory authority and contrary to statutory authority” by implementing the plan. The lawsuit was filed by the Police Benevolent Association, a union that represents corrections officers and prison guards. Read more → [...]
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