August 1, 2014


USDA Releases Final Rule to Privatize Poultry Inspection
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the final rule on a new inspection system for poultry products. The system will transfer a majority of poultry inspections from government inspectors to self-policing by the companies themselves. . . .Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter counters that “the one USDA inspector left on the slaughter line under this new rule will still have to inspect 2.33 birds every second–an impossible task that leaves consumers at risk.”  The new regulations were first proposed in January 2012 but delayed after receiving strong opposition from animal welfare groups, consumer organizations and worker safety advocates. In 2013 the Government Accountability Office released a scathing analysis, questioning whether USDA had sufficient data to make such radical changes.  EcoWatch

MI: The Republican Occupation of Detroit
. . . Why would any city want to privatize its water system? A report by Corporate Accountability International (CAI) shows that water privatization fairly universally leads to higher prices for cities and consumers and, in many cases, decreased efficiencies. In fact, the track record for water privatization is so abysmal that CAI found more than 20 American cities that had once privatized their water have taken back control of their systems since 2002. If water privatization is bad for the city of Detroit and its residents, who is it good for? Corporations. Which is where the state’s interest comes in. Gov. Snyder has used his emergency management laws, versions one and two, to impose his conservative agenda across the state, including privatization. Daily Beast

OH: FBI raided local charter school
FBI agents raided a Bond Hill charter school in June as part of an ongoing federal investigation into whether Horizon Science Academy Cincinnati, its sister schools in Ohio and two other states, and its management company outside Chicago had improper relationships with several technology vendors.

OH: Public Money, Private Problems
As quasi-private schools funded with public money across Ohio face scrutiny, some say they need to be held to a higher standard. Supporters of charter or community schools say they do a better job at a lower cost than public schools. But critics say the schools are inconsistent, that state oversight of charters is too weak and that the privately run schools are turning a profit on state money that could be used to shore up traditional public schools. Cincinnati CityBeat

PA: Jail deal could prevent privatization
After more than a year and a half of working without a new contract, corrections officers at the Mercer County Jail are very close to a new labor agreement. As part of the negotiations, commissioners will not pursue efforts to bring in a private company to run the jail during the lifetime of the agreement.

NC: Judge: NC can distribute public money for private schools before ruling on legality of program
A North Carolina judge won’t block a state agency from distributing taxpayer money to cover private school tuition in advance of a hearing to determine whether the program championed by Republican lawmakers is legal. Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood said Wednesday he won’t issue an injunction blocking the State Educational Assistance Authority from paying out $10 million in government-funded scholarships to students who won a lottery for tuition assistance to attend private or religious schools. Daily Journal

CT: Redflex Busted For Impersonating The State Court
School busThe state of Connecticut’s judicial system in January issued a cease-and-desist order to Redflex Traffic Systems after the Australian photo ticketing vendor was caught giving the impression that its tickets and payment website came from the court. Connecticut does not allow red light cameras or speed cameras, but Redflex uses school buses as photo ticketing platforms in accordance with a law passed in 2011. One of the vehicle owners who received a $450 school bus ticket from Redflex under this law became suspicious and sent a copy of the notice he received to Connecticut’s chief court administrator, who was appalled at what he