May 2, 2013


PA: Variety of groups inject money into fight over privatizing liquor sales. Convenience stores, business advocates and political groups are jockeying for state lawmakers’ votes on privatization of liquor sales in Pennsylvania with specialty websites, TV ads and face-to-face meetings. The Senate Law and Justice Committee held its first of three hearings on Tuesday on the decades-long fight. Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, a privatization proponent, is airing a TV ad in southeastern Pennsylvania targeting Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks County, who chairs the committee considering privatization. The ad claims McIlhinney is “siding with union bosses who want to keep taxpayers footing the bill for Pennsylvania’s broken government-run liquor store system.” Tribune-Review

WI: Editorial: Evidence doesn’t support choice program expansion. Legislators should be skeptical of a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker to sharply expand the school voucher program. There isn’t much evidence that students in voucher schools are better educated; in fact, they seem to perform at about the same level as their peers in mainline public schools…. But here’s the bottom line: The evidence isn’t persuasive that the choice schools have had much impact on achievement. Kids in the voucher schools do about the same, overall, as their peers in the public schools. And that underwhelming finding surely is not enough to justify a broad expansion that seems based more on ideology than on anything else. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

LA: Suits against state government mounting. The new legal threat on the horizon comes from Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe, who told KTBS-V in Shreveport that he will soon sue to assert the Legislature’s authority to review Jindal’s proposed privatization agreements for public hospitals. According to a recent attorney general’s opinion, the governor does not have to seek lawmakers’ approval to implement privatization, but most legislators want a say in that process anyhow. Ville Platte Gazette

PA: PennDOT Now Accepting Unsolicited P3 Transportation Proposals. During this period, the private sector can submit proposals offering innovative ways to deliver transportation projects across a variety of modes including roads, bridges, rail, aviation and ports. Proposals can also include more efficient models to manage existing transportation-related services and programs….Public and Private Partnerships for Transportation Act, which authorized P3 projects in Pennsylvania. This law allows PennDOT and other transportation authorities and commissions to partner with private companies to participate in delivering, maintaining and financing transportation-related projects. Sacramento Bee

FL: Thom Hartmann; Privatizing Medicaid isn’t enough for Florida Republicans. Even after getting a voucher to allow the state to privatize Medicaid, Florida still wants to screw over the poor.  Last Friday, the Republican-controlled Florida state house rejected federal funding for their Medicaid expansion.  Instead, they want to open the state up to more private insurance carriers…. Under the Florida Republican’s plan, those families will now have to select a private high-deductible plan, which means less care and more money out of pocket.  Where are the so-called compassionate conservatives?  If Florida Republicans think it’s so easy to raise a family on poverty wages, they should try doing so themselves… and try to cover the cost of corporate healthcare while they’re at it.

StudentsFirst under scrutiny from the left. Michelle Rhee frequently says her StudentsFirst lobbying group is a bipartisan organization that backs Democrats and Republicans who support her vision for education: charter schools, vouchers and performance pay for teachers. But left-leaning critics of the group routinely cast StudentsFirst as a Republican outfit, out of step with the union values many Democrats hold dear. Last month, California Democrats wouldn’t let StudentsFirst have a booth at the party’s state convention and Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, gave a speech saying the group is “backed by moneyed interests, Republican operatives and out-of-state Wall Street billionaires dedicated to school privatization and trampling on teacher and worker rights.”   Sacramento Bee