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Florida Legislature Pulls Plug on Privatization of Northeast Florida State Hospital

April 07, 2011

Thanks to the efforts of AFSCME Council 79, committed coalition partners, countless members of the community who value quality health care, and members of the Florida Legislature — led by Sen. Charlie Dean — plans to privatize the Northeast Florida State Hospital are off the table.

“Yesterday’s action by the Florida Senate stripping language to private Northeast Florida State Hospital is a blessing to the community and a blow to Governor Scott, an army of high-priced lobbyists, and proponents of privatization everywhere,” said Council 79 President Jeanette Wynn.

“Lawmakers and the community have stood up to the Governor and his plans to slash the jobs and services of the men and women who have long served Floridians. We pledge to fight each and every one of his dangerous plans that will cut jobs and diminish services.”

Wynn praised the efforts of anti-privatization legislative ally Sen. Dean.

“Senator Dean has done everything he can — whenever he can — to save public services. I don’t know if we could have prevented the hospital from getting into the clutches of privateers without his leadership. Senator Dean’s first-hand knowledge of the perils of privatization and his willingness to fight against it makes us thankful to have him on our side of this issue.”

The effort to privatize the hospital is just one of many dangerous proposals in Gov. Rick Scott’s budget. The $70 billion Scott budget calls for severe cuts to public education, reductions in benefits for state workers and payroll, and rampant privatization of mental health facilities.

Northeast Florida State Hospital is Baker County’s largest employer.

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