During the last state Senate committee stop for the Legislature’s prison privatization bill, experts who drove to the state capital to testify against the measure were not allowed to speak before the committee took a vote and passed the bill.

Former state Sen. Ron Silver, one of two people who were able to speak before the vote, took his time to point out that there were many experts who drove in to speak about the bill. Since it is only the third week of session, Silver requested that leaders take up the issue again to allow for public testimony before a final vote.

Teamsters released a statement earlier today saying that “Teamsters correctional officers and an expert on prison privatization will testify at the Senate Budget Committee hearing where they will speak out against a plan to privatize the state’s prisons in South Florida.”

“A lot of people had something to say,” Silver pleaded. ”This is only the third week [and] we had experts that drove up.”

The chair of the committee, J.D. Alexander, indicated that he would be willing to hear speakers, but not before today’s vote. The committee had decided to vote at a certain time, but had started the meeting about 20 minutes later than scheduled.

Once the bill passed, many members of the audience yelled, “Shame!” at the committee.

The bill passed and now moves on to a final vote on the Senate floor.

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