Judge Hears Florida Prison Privatization Challenge

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A judge says he expects to rule quickly on another challenge to plans for privatizing health care services in Florida's prisons.
Circuit Judge John Cooper heard the case Thursday in Tallahassee but did not immediately make a decision. The issue is whether a legislative budget panel exceeded its authority by approving the proposal.
Lawyers for two unions representing about 3,000 prison health care employees, who stand to lose their jobs, contend only the full Legislature can make such a significant policy change.
The unions previously challenged plans for outsourcing health care because they were in the state's budget rather than substantive legislation. Another judge declared that case over when the budget provision expired on June 30.
The state contends it doesn't a budget provision or new law to outsource.


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