Senate will vote on prison privatization on Tuesday

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The Senate will take up or down votes on pending amendments, and likely decide up or down on privatizing prisons in most of South of Florida on Tuesday, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said via the News Service of Florida. The bill, a top priority of leadership, was brought to the floor earlier this session, but pulled from consideration when it began to appear that leadership couldn’t get the measure passed. An amendment that remains pending would shelve the issue for a year in favor of a study. That amendment will be up for consideration on Tuesday, Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island said. He has conceded that in counting votes he came to realize he likely didn’t have enough to pass it last month. In an interview recently with the News Service of Florida, he also acknowledged he may end up losing on the issue, but said he was committed to putting it to a vote. On Thursday, Haridopolos wouldn’t say whether the count has changed. “It’s a very close vote,” he said. He also said it was important to take up the issue again sooner, rather than later because it plays into what the budget will look like. If the proposal fails, he said, budget writers will have to find cuts elsewhere. The issue isn’t accounted for in the House budget, with leaders there saying if a privatization plan does pass, they think it could be factored in at the time a contract is signed with a private prison company. The proposal calls for private prison operators to save 7 percent by running prisons in 18 South Florida counties, about 30 facilities in all. Opponents have said that the plan won’t save that much money

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