UPDATE: Tallahassee Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford will hold a hearing at 4:30 p.m. today on the privatization lawsuit. The Florida Police Benevolent Association is asking for an emergency stay to stop the procurement process.
Gov. Rick Scott‘s administration has re-opened bids on privatizating prisons in an 18-county region in southern Florida despite a recent court ruling that the way lawmakers ordered the privatization plan is unconstitutional.
Scott opted not to appeal. But Attorney General Pam Bondi on Monday filed an appeal on behalf of the legislature challenging Tallahassee Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford’s ruling. That appeal opened the door for state Department of Corrections officials to re-open the bids, Department of Corrections officials said in a press release issued late Thursday.
Bids will be due within a week but because of the ongoing court battle “the agency will not sign a contract until the litigation is complete,” the release said.
The Florida Police Benevolent Association, which filed the lawsuit, intends to ask the First District Court of Appeals for an expedited hearing and is asking Fulford to reinstate the stay on the bids she previously ordered.
Boca Raton-based GEO Group is one of the contenders for the privatization plan intended to cost the state 7 percent less than what the department is currently spending on the region’s 29 prisons and other correctional operations.
Read the corrections department press release after the jump.