Senate takes another swipe at privatizing prisons next weekby Dara Kam | February 9th, 2012
Senate President Mike Haridopolos will next week resurrect a prison privatization plan he set aside twice, indicating he may have garnered enough support to pass the controversial measure.
Haridopolos said today the Senate will take up the privatization plan (SB 2038) and amendments on Monday, including a proposal that prompted Haridopolos last week to put the brakes on the bill that would privatize all Department of Corrections operations – including prisons and work camps – in an 18-county region in the southern portion of the state. Haridopolos stopped debate before an amendment that would have stripped out the privatization and instead ordered a study of the outsourcing.
When asked if putting the bill on the calendar meant that he now has the votes to pass the plan, Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, smiled.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Haridopolos may have garnered more support for his priority issue since stripping outspoken critic of the plan Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, of his committee chairmanship after Fasano’s privatization study amendment appeared to likely to pass and gut the bill. Haridopolos, Gov. Rick Scott and other GOP leaders have urged senators to go along with the plan because of an estimated minimum $16.5 million annual savings.
The Senate will likely have an up-or-down vote on the privatization plan on Tuesday, Haridopolos said.
“I think some people have been impressed by the facts,” he said.