Friday, January 20, 2012

Why SB 2036 Isn't Fiscally Conservative

Senate Bill 2036 would rewrite state law so no data would be collected to see if private prisons save the state of Florida money.

An act relating to the outsourcing or privatization of agency functions; amending s. F.S. 216.023, F.S.; providing that certain information relating to the outsourcing or privatization of an agency function that is expressly required by law is not required to be included in the agency's legislative budget request until after the contract for such functions is executed; amending s. 287.057, F.S.; providing that procurements for outsourcing or privatizing agency functions that are expressly required by law are exempt from the requirement that they are evaluated for cost-effectiveness, and efficiency; amending s. 944.105, F.S.; providing that certain requirements that apply to the Department of Corrections' contract do not apply to contracts for outsourcing or privatizating the operation or maintenance of correctional facilities which are expressly required by law; providing an effective date.

If the bill becomes law, the state would not be allowed to evalulate the performance of private prison contractors. Contractors could not be legally mandated to provide reports detailing prision health or safety issues.

Another issue that proves that that Republicans are not fiscally conservative. The state would have no idea if they are saving money under private prisons. Which is exactly why Senate President Mike Haridopolos is trying to fast track this bill. Haridopolos and other Republicans know for-profit prisons will cost the state more. The rush is because private prison companies have given $400,000 to Florida Republicans during the last election cycle.

Last session, Dr. Michael Hallett sent a letter to Sen. Mike Fasano warning him about giving private prisons too much power.

"It renders the state subject to captivity once the contract is awarded, by giving one corporation so much power and control over such a significant segment of the state budget," he said. "You can't turn this around on a moments notice."

Fasano is the chairman of the Criminal and Civil Appropiations subcommittee. All legislation on the state suppose to go through Fasano's subcommittee. Haridopolos decided to have SB 2036 go through the rules committee. The bill is so bad that no senator will take credit for being its author.

Haridopolos and other Republicans create red tape that makes it hard to collect unemployment or children to be enrolled in Kidcare. They do this under the claim that they are fiscal conservatives. Yet, these same Republicans are writing legislation intended to forbid them from finding out if there are cost overruns with private prisons. When a politician says he or she is a fiscal conservative, what that poll really means is he or she corporatist who doesn't give a shit about the taxpayers' money.

Update: Via Twitter: Sen Paula Dockery informed me that the sponsers of SB 2036 are John Thrasher, Don Gaetz, and J.D. Alexander.

The Gainesville Sun has come out strongly against SB 2036.

Senate Bill 2036 is an invitation to corruption. If lawmakers are arrogant enough to pass it, Rick Scott should veto it It stinks.

Scott is leading to push to privatize prisons. Scott has no intention of vetoing SB 2036.

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