Senate Kills Prison Privatization Bill
The prison privatization battle in Florida is finally at a close in the State Capitol.
The Senate went into session at 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon and shortly after 5 o'clock decided with a vote of 21-19 against prison privatization.
Earlier the vote was at a 20-20 split.
A bloc of Republicans revolted against their own leadership that pushed the prison privatization plan this legislative session.
Lawmakers in support of privatization said it would save at least $16.5 million a year. Opponents said a public safety duty like corrections shouldn't be contracted out.
In an effort to influence the vote, labor unions stood with prison guards outside the chamber before lawmakers went into session.
A section of corrections officers cheered in the Senate gallery as the vote was announced.
Nearly 4,000 prison jobs in 24 facilities in 18 South Florida counties could have been affected.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos has said he would look for cuts elsewhere if privatization failed. This year's state deficit is more than $1 billion.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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