March 1, 2013


How Private Prisons Game the Immigration System. On the one hand, a pathway to citizenship and legal reforms sought by advocates could reduce the number of immigrants detained by CCA and its competitors in the private prison industry. . . On the other hand, Libal observed that a bill with increased security measures “could be very profitable” for the industry. Legislators and the Obama administration could adopt a plan that mirrors Republican proposals for an “enforcement first” approach, which include increased police powers, new mandatory detention and sentencing laws, further militarization of the border and proposals for more prisons and detention officers. . . In recognition of the profits at stake, the prison companies have invested in key legislators leading the reform process—although the companies are coy about their purpose, denying that they are attempting to influence Congress’s deliberations. The Nation

MD: Authority advises caution on ICC privatization. The Maryland Transportation Authority has thrown some cold water on the idea of leasing the Intercounty Connector as a relatively pain-free way of raising money to pay for other projects – saying such deals are too complex to enter into without extensive study. In a position paper sent to the legislature, the authority does not rule out privatization deals but warns “they are not easy and should be approached prudently.” Baltimore Sun

CA: Walmart Heirs Spend Millions to Privatize LA Schools. For more than a decade, however, one of the biggest of the billionaire interlopers has been the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, who have poured millions into a privatization-oriented, ideological campaign to make L.A. a laboratory for their ideas about treating schools like for-profit businesses, and treating parents, students and teachers like cogs in what they must think are education big-box retail stores. As a business chain, Walmart has spent a fortune — in philanthropy and campaign contributions — trying to break into the Los Angeles retail market with its low-wage retail stores.  The Frying Pan

CA: Fair Board to Ponder Action on Failed Privatization Bid. The board’s Fair Sale Review Committee issued a scathing report last month and presented it publicly to board members. Led by a former police chief, the panel concluded that Republican board members used pavement contracts with LSA & Associates at the fairground to “launder” hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to lobbyists and attorneys to move the privatization plan through the halls of Sacramento. The keys to understanding the Republican fair board privatization plan were speed and political connections. VoiceofOC

TX: Toll road expansion plans worry Del Valle residents. A new road expansion project would allow drivers to get from San Antonio to Waco, without having to drive through Austin. . . The convenience will come with a price, however, the project includes the addition of tolled express lanes on Highway 71 that will stretch from SH-130 to just before Highway 183. The news has some Del Valle residents worried. “It’s all about money is what it is. The lower people on the food chain have to survive,” Del Valle resident Jack Terry said. “It’s hard enough with gas. It’s what $3.60, $3.70, now you’ve got to pay to drive?”  YNN

OH: Privatizing prisons in Ohio is bad news for taxpayers – letter to editor. Private prison companies don’t help our local economies in other ways. They pay their employees small wages that are used to barely scrape by on and they offer little to no benefits. By denying benefits, the rest of us pay more based on increased trips to the emergency room and, in some cases, use of a medical card. Mansfield News Journal

OK: Okla. House panel OKs plan to privatize CompSource. A plan to privatize Oklahoma’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurer has been approved by a House committee. A bill that would convert CompSource Oklahoma from a state entity to a private company owned by policyholders passed Thursday through the House Insurance Committee. If approved by the House Calendar Committee, it next will be heard by the full House.  KWTV