TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida is moving ahead with a plan to privatize nearly 3,000 jobs in the state's prisons.
A legislative panel on Wednesday approved a proposal by the administration of Gov. Rick Scott to spend nearly $58 million in order to privatize prison health care operations by January.
The issue divided the panel with Democrats questioning the record of the private companies and questioning whether the state's Legislative Budget Commission could legally approve the move.
But the Florida Department of Corrections contends it can move ahead with the privatization plan without approval of the full Legislature. Prison officials say privatizing health care operations for nearly 100,000 inmates will save the state money.
The union that represents state workers says it will sue to block the move.