Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island (Pic by Office of Senate President, via flsenate.gov)

At the behest of advocacy groups and fellow legislators, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos has added one more committee stop for two controversial bills that would allow the state to take another stab at privatizing prisons.

Groups showed up in mass to oppose the bills when they were first introduced this week. Labor groups and retired law enforcement groups requested that the bills receive a deliberate and thorough hearing during the Rules committee meeting announcing the bills. However, it was reported soon after that the bills would only be heard and voted on once at the same committee they were introduced.

Today, state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said in a letter to Haridopolos that a “subject as complex as prison privatization should have been referred to the substantive committees that oversee this subject matter (i.e. Criminal Justice, Governmental Oversight and Accountability and Criminal & Civil Justice Appropriations).” He requested that Haridopolos reconsider fast-tracking the bills.

Haridopolos wrote in a letter today to his fellow senators that he was adding another committee stop. However, it would not be moving through any of the committees Fasano requested.

“After hearing questions and concerns from my fellow Senators in the Senate Committee on Rules regarding Senate Bill 2036,” he writes, “I have decided to proceed in an abundance of caution. This bill, if reported favorably out of the Senate Committee on Rules on Monday, January 23, 2012, will be referred to the Senate Committee on Budget to be heard on Wednesday, January 25, 2012.”

Haridopolos also addressed allegations that the bills were not getting a thorough consideration. He explains today that his staff “found that the language was fully vetted in the previous session … and because this language was passed on the Senate floor last year, it was eligible to be expedited through the process this year.”

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