April 2, 2014


TN: For-profit charter school bill clears House committee. For-profit companies moved closer to being able to operate charter schools in Tennessee after a much-debated bill eked out a key legislative victory Tuesday. The Tennessean

PA: Critics Alarmed Over Pa. Legal Fees Paid to Firms. Legal feels are racking up in Pennsylvania, according to Dennis Owens of the ABC News branch there. He filed a “request-to-know” with the Office of General Counsel and discovered that DLA Piper billed (and collected) more than $3 million in legal fees on a lottery privatization plan that didn’t go through, Drinker Biddle & Reath was awarded a contract for nearly $1 million in a Voter ID case and Cozen O’Connor received $631,128.98 for Jerry Sandusky scandal-related legal issues.Some critics claim these outside contracts are an inside job, reports Owens, who quotes John Hanger, a former Democratic candidate for governor, with alleging the firms who receive the fees also have, not coincidentally, donated a lot of money to the governor. “Most of the time that’s an excuse to write nice checks to people who have given you campaign donations,” Hanger told Owens. Corporate Counsel

PA: PennDOT Invites Contractors to Bid Contract for 500 Public-Private Bridges. The selected team will manage the bridges’ design, construction and maintenance for a yet-to-be-determined number of years under one contract. The team will be responsible for financing the effort and PennDOT will make payments based on the contractor’s adherence to the contract terms. PennDOT will continue to own all of the bridges and will be responsible for routine maintenance, such as snow plowing and debris removal.  ForConstructionPros.com

KY: University Students Bring Concerns About Public-Private Dining Partnership. The University of Kentucky’s consideration of a public-private partnership for dining services got attention from two fronts during Monday’s meeting. The UK Board of Trustees meeting began with a  student protest.  The protesters asked the board to reject any and all proposals to privatize public dining services at the school.  Their primary concern is with one potential vendor, the Sodexo Group.  The students say Sodexo cited the Affordable Care Act as a reason to cut off full-time benefits for some of its employees at another school.  WEKU

VT: House takes up school privatization bill. The House has started work on a Senate bill calling for a two-year moratorium on privatizing public schools. Under the Senate plan, voters still would be allowed to close an elementary or school in order to send students to another town. But under the provisions of S.91, towns would be prohibited from closing a public school in order to open an independent school in its place.  vtdigger.org

NC: Cornelius anti-toll group names NC Rep. Robert Brawley legislator of year. Toll Free NC, the Cornelius-based group opposed to toll roads, named N.C. Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Mooresville, as its Legislator of the Year on Tuesday. The group said Brawley “stands on principle and speaks the truth even when it’s against his party.” “The private toll lanes on I-77 will end up costing my constituents over half a billion dollars, when we can widen the road where we need it for less than a fifth of that,” Brawley said in a statement accompanying the group’s announcement.“The private company wants the general purpose lanes to be as congested as possible so drivers will have an incentive to pay the toll,” Brawley said. “At the end of the day, instead of solving our congestion problems, the toll lanes ensure congestion.”  Charlotte Observer