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

Following a contentious introduction of two bills that would allow the state to privatize prisons, leaders in the state’s GOP-led Legislature have fast-tracked the bills by only referring them to one committee.

The Palm Beach Post reports that state Senate President Mike Haridopolos “sent the bills to the Rules Committee that yesterday agreed to allow the measures to get a full vetting.”

The two bills, which were introduced yesterday, encountered resounding opposition from various groups. This week, the AFL-CIO warned that the bills were a “union busting” effort that would “eliminate any transparency from the process, allowing Legislative leaders to auction off Florida with no deliberation, cost benefit analysis or public input.”

One of the bills would privatize correctional facilities, which was attempted by legislators last session, and the other would allow the privatization of state functions to go through more secretively. If passed, the bill would allow the privatization of a public agency function to move along without being evaluated for feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency, too.

State Sen. J.D. Alexander said yesterday the bills were filed in response to a ruling made when a judge struck down the Legislature’s attempt to privatize prisons last year. The judge ruled that the process by which the legislators pushed through its plans to privatize prisons in 18 counties was unconstitutional and lacked statutory authority.

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