May 20, 2013


FL: Florida Adopts Legislation on Public Private Partnerships…. [T]he Legislature has, this session, passed Bill CS/CS/HB 85 expanding the Florida P3 statute to allow the finance/build/operate model to be used in a broad range of projects outside of transportation.  The National Law Review

NC: Legislator opposes I-77 tolls.  “When you’re driving down a road that you already paid for, you shouldn’t be taxed again with a toll,” State Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, told members of Widen I-77, a Lake Norman-area citizens group fighting the state’s $550 million toll road plan. Charlotte Observer

NY: Opinion: Privatization broke mental health care in Dutchess County. The privatization of mental health-care services as well as the marked reduction of support services available to those with serious psychiatric disturbances have led to a mental health system that is broken and often unsafe. For example, high-risk individuals (such as those who have made a recent suicide attempt or who have been grossly unable to function in the community) flow from hospitals and partial hospitalization programs to privatized clinics, where they are seen every two to three weeks (sometimes every four weeks) for half-hour sessions. At these clinics, staff leave frequently because the pay is low and the caseloads are staggering, and patients have to either begin again and again with new therapists or are lost in the “system” at these times — not receiving care until the next crisis. Poughkeepsie Journal

NY: Cuomo’s Energy Czar Defends Near-Privatization of LIPA Over Alternatives. The Cuomo administration’s top energy official defended a plan that would all but privatize the Long Island Power Authority, arguing that a competing proposal to restructure it as a fully municipalized public utility would be unwieldy and could perpetuate political meddling. City & State

LA: Analyst says funding gap for LSU hospital deals. The first three LSU hospital privatization deals appear to use up 94 percent of the funding Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration set aside for eight such arrangements, budget analysts told senators Friday. The assessment of the Legislative Fiscal Office, a nonpartisan office that evaluates budget proposals for lawmakers, worried several members of the Senate Finance Committee who are combing through the $25 billion budget proposed for the 2013-14 fiscal year that begins July 1. “I’m extremely uncomfortable,” said Sen. Sherri Smith Buffington, R-Keithville, after hearing the financial analysis. Jindal is seeking to privatize the operations of most LSU-run safety net hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured and that train many of Louisiana’s medical students. Seattle Post Intelligencer

PA: So what’s up with liquor privatization? Dead? Mostly dead? Yet with less than six weeks to go before the June 30 deadline to pass a new budget, getting booze privatization over the goal line remains a frustratingly elusive goal for the Corbettistas and some are saying that it chances might be dead for the spring.

KS: Privatization proposal is sketchy. Should Kansas privatize services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled (ID/DD) population? The issue brought a lot of heat this past week….Deborah Auger of the University of Delaware surveyed the results of these privatization policies. Her bottom line: In order to work, the contracting process must be aggressively overseen by well-trained government employees with real authority. If done well, such policies may mean consumer choice, more opportunities to stay at home and cost savings. If done poorly, they can be a disaster. Auger documents a long train of abuses: payments to providers that provided no care in Massachusetts, a private juvenile care facility in Colorado closed for gross mismanagement, a mental health system with no qualified oversight in Arizona, and $4 million stolen by employees of a New York group home for the mentally ill.

Ed Tech, Privatization And Plunder. It would be easier for me to maintain my optimism if not for some ugly facts, like the recent cynical moves from the Florida legislature. “In 2011, the Legislature made it a requirement for all high school students to complete at least one course online, creating a guaranteed market for online learning services,” explains the Miami Herald, and now the other shoe is dropping as the state cuts back per-pupil funding for the publicly operated Florida Virtual School while creating opportunities for private businesses.  InformationWeek