Scott won’t appeal prison privatization rulingby Dara Kam | October 31st, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott won’t appeal a circuit court judge’s ruling that a sweeping prison privatization plan included by state lawmakers in the budget is unconstitutional. Scott has until today to appeal the decision.
Read The Palm Beach Post story about why lawmakers would rather not appeal Tallahassee Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford’s ruling that the way lawmakers went about the privatization plan, later signed into law by the first-term governor, was unconstitutional.
Scott told the Florida News Network early this afternoon he won’t appeal and that the plan will now go back to lawmakers, who are expected to pass it during their regular session that begins in January, then defended the proposal that would have required a single vendor to take over an 18-county region in South Florida, including 29 prisons and other corrections operations, for 7 percent less than what the Department of Corrections is now spending.
“We’re not going to file an appeal. It goes back to the legislature. But let’s all remember what we’re doing here,” Scott said at the airport before flying to Titusville for a Kennedy Space Center jobs announcement.
“You as a consumer, you expect your government to be efficient, right? You don’t want your government to waste money. So all that’s happening is your state legisalture with my support is saying look let’s figure out how we can save money. Let’s do the best job we can but let’s also make sure we’re not wasting taxpayer dollars. That’s what that program was supposed to do. So I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to do that,” Scott said. “We have a billion to $2 billion deficit this year….We’ve got to look at all the opportunities we can to do a gret job for the taxpayers of the state of Florida but not waste their money.”
The Florida Police Benevolent Association, which filed the lawsuit, applauded Scott’s decision, saying it would save 3,600 correctional workers’ jobs.
“The Florida PBA is pleased that Governor Scott and legislative leaders decided not to move forward with appealing the Court’s ruling that the legislature’s attempt to privatize public facilities through the budget was unconstitutional,” PBA executive director Matt Puckett said in a statement. “Now we need to educate the public and the legislature on the significant public safety issues and lack of significant savings associated with the privatization issue.”