March 6, 2008

1. Privatizing of some Utah services may grow
2. Toll-road bills back in Arizona, but face roadblocks
3. GA: Bill-failing schools will shift to private management
4. NC: Editorial: fixing ‘reform’

News Summaries
1. Privatizing of some Utah services may grow
Outsourcing government services to the private industry could become
more commonplace, under legislation passed by the 2008 Utah
Legislature, according to the Desert Morning News.
Lawmakers approved a pair of bills requiring state and local
governments to inventory all "competitive activities" that potentially
could be done better — and cheaper — by the private sector. Salt Lake
County officials fear the privatization move could be the first step to
shutting down government-operated golf courses and recreation centers.
"You can privatize just about anything if you really want to," Salt
Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon said in an earlier interview. "The
question is what will best serve the citizens, will government or
private industry best serve the citizens?"
2. Toll-road bills back in Arizona, but face roadblocks
A trio of bills that would allow the state and other agencies to work
with private companies to finance, build and maintain pay-as-you-go
roads had failed to garner support from the Senate Transportation
Committee, according to The Arizona Republic. But members reversed
course last week, giving the bills the green light. The bills still
must get past major roadblocks before becoming law.
3. GA: Bill – failing schools will shift to private management
Public school systems could have more say how they spend their money if
they agreed to meet certain standards set by the state. And if they
failed, they could be converted into charter schools or put under
private management. That would be the situation if the General Assembly
approves Gov. Sonny Perdue’s "Investing in Educational Excellence"
legislation., according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Georgia House passed the bill 112-58 Wednesday after two hours of
impassioned debate. Democratic opponents used equally strong
superlatives to lambaste the bill. "For six years, we have starved
education," House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) said. "Under
this bill, we will be deserting public education."
4. NC: Editorial: fixing ‘reform’
The News & Observer says that immediate action is needed to fix ‘reform’
of the state’s mental health system after abuses were uncovered in an N&O series.
"Yes, the reform movement, a privatization of sorts of the mental
health system that was launched by the General Assembly in 2001, went
on to become a shambles, a miserable failure. The victims of that
failure have been the many thousands of North Carolinians suffering
from mental illness. Governor Easley maintains that he opposed the
legislature’s reform push at the time, and that he thought the effort
had died. But once it went through, he obviously was responsible for
carrying it out. Easley said the system now amounts to "privatization
without accountability," and that in effect no one has been in charge.
The legislature created this mess, and the Easley administration didn’t
watch the changes closely enough. Now, everyone will be watching — to
see if the governor and lawmakers will keep the promises implicit in