Looks like Governor Overreach is at it again.
Earlier this week the Florida Senate defeated a prison privatization bill in a 21-19 vote. The controversial bill had been a top priority for some Senate Republicans. Sen. Mike Fasano, (R-New Port Richey) who opposed the bill was stripped of his chairmanship on the budget subcommittee by Senate President Mike Haridopolos because of his strong views against the move.
Despite opposition from some members of both parties, today Florida Governor Rick Scott is saying he plans to explore opportunities to go ahead and privatize prisons on his own:
"It wasn't something that was one of my legislative session priorities this year, but here's what I think about it," Scott said. "I got elected to hold government accountable, to not waste taxpayers' money. So here was an opportunity that the Senate had to give us the opportunity to save a significant amount of money….. I’m disappointed the Senate didn’t do that. I’m going to look at what I have the opportunity to do. …I'm going to make sure that we don't waste money."
Scott's jump into the controversy – after months of refusing to answer directly what his position was on the idea – drew immediate criticism from the opponents of privatization, including the union that currently represents most state corrections officers.
"The Senate reflected the will of the citizens of Florida when it voted to kill prison privatization," said Ken Wood, acting president of Teamsters Local 2011, which represents about 20,000 correctional officers in the state. "Floridians do not want the rules changed so private companies can get secret contracts with no cost-benefit analysis and no public review."
Sen. Fasano spoke to Democracy Now about the prospect of Rick Scott moving ahead to privatize Florida prisons on his own, and said claims that it would save the state money are unproven and he fears there could be public safety issues involved.
Below is the interview with Democracy Now.