Judge to hold another hearing in prison health care case

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A Leon County circuit judge has scheduled another hearing this week in a challenge to a legislative move to privatize prison health services.

Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll heard arguments May 29 from attorneys for the state and two groups challenging the constitutionality of the legislative move. At the time, Carroll indicated he would try to make a decision quickly, but he has not issued a ruling. Carroll will hold the additional hearing Tuesday, with a notice saying it will be a “status conference.” The two groups, the Florida Nurses Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, contend that lawmakers improperly used budget fine print — known as proviso language — to direct the Department of Corrections to privatize prison health services. The groups contend that lawmakers would need to make such decisions by passing a bill to change state law. Attorneys for the state and potential contractors argue, in part, that the department already has the legal authority to privatize prison health services.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.