New Florida Prison Privatization Effort Challenged

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Two public employee unions are challenging the state's plan to privatize health care services in Florida's prisons even though a budget provision authorizing that outsourcing has expired.
They made their argument Wednesday to Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll. He asked lawyers from both sides to submit additional written arguments by the end of next week before he makes a ruling.
Carroll last month declined to rule on a challenge to the budget provision because it had expired.
Gov. Rick Scott's administration, though, is moving ahead with the privatization, claiming that the Department of Corrections has that authority under existing law even without the budget provision.
The department has issued notices of intent to award contracts to two private companies that responded to requests for proposals sought under the expired budget provision.

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