May 7, 2014


The perils of privatized probation. Last week, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a bill that would have expanded the portion of probation service that the state contracts out to private companies. The bill would also have exempted private probation companies from the state’s open-records laws. Kudos to Deal. He’s a Republican governor in a Southern state. That veto took some political courage. But it was important. The Economist’s “Democracy in America” blog recently detailed all of the awfulness in this bill.  Washington Post

CO: US 36 toll lane controversy sparks new Colorado road contract requirements. A Colorado bill prompted by public anger over public-private road contracts is on its way to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper. The bill requires the Colorado Department of Transportation to hold more public meetings about road projects. The bill also requires lawmaker approval for any road project that exceeds 35 years. The House voted for the bill 35-29. It was prompted by citizen displeasure with a public-private partnership to widen U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder. The plan includes toll lanes, and many said the public didn’t have adequate notice of the plan.  The Denver Channel

IN: Agreement on Illiana toll road plan says Illinois would pay $250M. An agreement between the Illinois and Indiana transportations departments aimed at building a toll road linking highways in both states calls for Illinois to spend at least $250 million on its half of the project. The public-private development would fund the proposed Illiana toll road, a 47-mile east-west road connecting Interstate 55 near Wilmington, Ill., and Interstate 65 near Lowell, Ind.  . . . “IDOT appears to be committing the money, even though the Illinois General Assembly hasn’t specifically approved an appropriation,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, which has filed a lawsuit to try to block the toll road. “Why is IDOT wasting taxpayer money to subsidize private developers who are building this unneeded road to nowhere that will have far less traffic use than other major expressways such as the Dan Ryan or the Stevenson or the Kennedy?” Learner said Tuesday night. Chicago Sun-Times

LA: Bobby Jindal’s hospital privatization plan moves forward, despite federal concerns. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to privatize another state-run hospital for the poor and uninsured, even after the federal government rejected Louisiana’s financial deals related to six outsourced medical facilities last week. The Times-Picayune