March 13, 2013


MD: Public-Private Partnership Bill passes after hot debate over relaxed. The administration bill, HB560, establishes guidelines for how the state can partner with private businesses to deliver infrastructure projects without following the usual procurement process. . .Discussion of the bill centered around concern that the bill did not include sufficient measures to prevent favoritism. . .While P3’s are not defined as procurements, they still involve the distribution of millions of taxpayer dollars.  Maryland Reporter

NJ: Bill tightening oversight of lottery privatization passes Senate committee. Democratic Senators at a hearing Monday questioned the wisdom of Governor Christie’s effort to privatize part of the New Jersey Lottery. They advanced a bill that would tighten legislative control over the contracting process.

DE: Delaware governor defends failed effort to privatize operations at port of Wilmington. Gov. Jack Markell is defending his administration’s failed effort to try to enter into a public-private partnership with energy giant Kinder Morgan for operating the Port of Wilmington. Markell on Tuesday also defended Kinder Morgan, rejecting assertions by opponents of the deal that the company wanted to take over port operations for an unfair price. He also said he was in no hurry to throw more taxpayer money at the cash-strapped port.  Washington Post

PA: Corbett expected to resubmit Pennsylvania lottery deal. Gov. Tom Corbett plans to ask Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office to reverse its rejection of a contract with a British firm to manage the $3.5 billion Pennsylvania Lottery, a top lawmaker said Tuesday. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said administration officials told him Monday that they are making changes in the contract with London-based Camelot Global Services that Kane rejected last month over concerns that parts of it contravene the state constitution or violate state law. York Daily Record

PA: Editorial: Modernization favored over liquor privatization. There is an easier way of doing that without sacrificing millions of dollars in annual revenue, eliminating 3,500 family-sustaining jobs or killing the prosperity of the state’s family-owned beer distributors. Modernization. The modernization plan would offer state stores the flexibility to extend Sunday hours and offer consumers deeper discounts and wider product selections. Some of these initiatives already have been introduced and received bipartisan support. These options alone, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, would generate an estimated $35 million in the first year of implementation. The Tribune=Democrat

PA: Lt. Gov. schmoozes before booze privatization vote. But on Tuesday he ran into a yellow brick wall. A group of state store employees dressed in canary polo shirts showed up to bend the ear of Cawley. They traveled from all over the state to hammer home how vital their service is to consumers. “You will not be able to find the same products anywhere in the world as you would have available here in Pennsylvania,” state store employee Wayne Manley said. Many don’t agree with Corbett’s proposal to shut down 600 Wine & Spirit stores. State workers contend if passed, that will force 4,000 employees to be financially sober.  abc27

TX: Coalition organizes against toll road funding for highways. Decrying “fairy-tale budgeting” that has racked up $31 billion in debt for state roads in the past decade, tea party activists and transportation advocates are teaming up to demand a dedicated source of revenue for highway construction, arguing that neglect by state leaders simply is pushing costs onto local taxpayers. San Antonio anti-toll road organizer Terri Hall said the group will press for legislation that earmarks proceeds from the state vehicle sales tax to road construction, gradually shifting $250 million a year to the Texas Department of Transportation budget. If they rely on tolls, “Texans will not be able to get to work or get their kids to school without paying $10 or more a day to get across town,” Hall said. “How is this not a tax hike?”  San Antonio Express,  YNN

TX: Citizen Council PAC Paves Way for Trinity Toll Road.  “Trinity Parkway” was the advertising term used in campaign literature 15 years ago to get voters to approve what the Citizens Council really wanted — a multi-lane, high-speed, limited-access toll road along the Trinity River through the city center. Linked to plans for the redevelopment of key landholdings downtown, the toll road has always been, is now and will always be the Citizens Council’s premiere piece of business. Dallas Observer

OH: Exceptions threaten Ohio open records law. Ohio’s statute once was considered a model open records law nationally. Most public officials are well-intentioned, and it’s often the case that each idea for a new exception has a justification that appears reasonable in isolation. It is the cumulative effect that alarms us. We now have 29 categories of records that are secret under Ohio law.

OK: Okla. Senate votes to privatize CompSource agency. The bill by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa would convert CompSource Oklahoma from a state entity to a private company owned by its policyholders. Supporters say a state agency should not by competing with private insurers. State law requires employers to have insurance to compensate injured workers. CompSource was created by the Legislature in 1933 as an insurer of last resort. It has thousands of policyholders, including state, county and municipal government agencies, and it writes 35 percent of the workers’ compensation policies in the state.  San Francisco Chronicle

Real consequences of ‘school choice’. The Pied Piper of school choice is undoubtedly Jeb Bush, who recently declared “school choice is a catalytic converter for rising student achievement”. . . The results of Bush’s program for public schools — what he likes to refer to as “the Florida miracle” — are very thin indeed. The “miracle” claim is derived primarily from the fact that Florida fourth graders, especially black fourth graders, out-gained the national average on the National Association of Education Progress in 2003 and 2005. . . It turns out that the scores for Florida fourth graders had improved mostly because the state suddenly started flunking large numbers of third graders, so low-achieving third graders were still in third grade when the fourth grade test was given. “With only the higher-achieving students taking the test, the scores according to an article in NEA Today.  Campaign for America’s Future

Privatize Schools Teach Hippies are Dirty & Celebrate the KKK – Video. Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers, joins Thom Hartmann. Louisiana’s voucher program supports schools that teach creationism and celebrate the KKK. Satan worshipping hippies – heroic Klansmen – and – real – live dragons! No – these aren’t figments of Glenn Beck’s delusional mind. They’re true facts. Well – at least according to the new series of textbooks used in schools funded by Louisiana’s voucher program. ThomHartman,com