And a 2010 study of prisons in Arizona, which also has a cost-savings requirement for its private lockups, questioned whether outsourcing is the cheapest option. The Arizona state auditor found that medium-security private prisons cost $1,200 more per inmate a year than state-run facilities. Reviewing prison studies in other states, the auditor also noted "cost savings from contracting with private prisons... are not guaranteed."

Enacted Jim Crow-Style Voting Laws

After squeaking into office with just 61,550 more votes than his opponent, Scott wasted no time in disenfranchising people who might oust him in the next election cycle. In March, the Florida Clemency Board — composed of Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and other members of his Cabinet — passed a ban on felon voting rights, forcing nonviolent offenders to wait five years after completing their sentences to apply to have their rights restored.

The new rule turned back the clock on Florida's voting laws. During the 2000 election, thousands of voters were wrongfully purged from the rolls because they were misidentified as felons. That mishap brought to light the painful fact that Florida had the largest number of disenfranchised felons in the nation — a disproportionate swath of whom were African-American.

Govs. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist heeded the outcry over this injustice and made it easier for ex-felons to get their voting rights restored. But Scott undid all their reforms, dismissing the racist implications of his decision.

The felon voting ban dates back to the years just following the Civil War. It was zealously employed — just like poll taxes — to keep African-Americans from voting, says Lance deHaven-Smith, a professor of public administration at Florida State University. "It was used to target and weaken voting rights for blacks, and that is what they're doing with it today," he says.

And Scott wasn't done. In May, the Legislature passed new election requirements that can be used to prevent less-wealthy people — those who work long hours and move frequently — from voting. The law makes it tougher for get-out-the-vote groups to register new voters, requires voters to use a provisional ballot if they have moved from one county to another and not registered the address change before Election Day, and reduces the number of early voting days from 14 to eight.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit in Miami seeking to block implementation of the new law. Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida branch of the ACLU, called the law "a trifecta of voter suppression."

Mandated Drug Testing for State Workers and Welfare Recipients

You know something has gone terribly wrong when a concerned group of Key West citizens feels the need to send a communal vat of urine to Florida's governor.

The group, called the Committee for the Positive Insistence on a Sane Society (PISS), collected the urine samples to protest an executive order that Scott issued in March, requiring all state employees to submit to drug tests. "Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace," he said at the time.

In June, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit calling the pee test unconstitutional. Scott suspended the order, pending the lawsuit, although state Department of Corrections employees will still be tested.

He campaigned on, and delivered, a separate law signed in May that requires prospective recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — cash welfare for families with children — to pass a drug test.This rule struck close to home for Scott. He has a brother in Texas who has struggled with bipolar disorder, has a criminal history that includes drug possession, and now receives social security insurance.

With this law, Florida may be repeating an old mistake. Thirteen years ago the state launched a pilot program to drug-test recipients of cash welfare, and it was an utter failure. Only 3.8 percent of the 8,800 people who took the test failed it. This little government experiment cost the state $2.7 million, and the program was ultimately scrapped, according to PolitiFact.com.

How's that for fiscal austerity?

Fought the Prescription Drug Database

At first, Scott seemed determined to allow Florida's deadly pill-mill addiction to flourish. In February, he proposed repealing the law that created a prescription drug database designed to track the sale of narcotics. He argued that the database, intended to help spot patients who are "doctor-shopping," was an invasion of privacy. His backers in the Legislature also argued that the database didn't solve the problem because doctors weren't required to check it before dispensing drugs.

Still, in a state where seven deaths a day are blamed on prescription drug abuse, Scott's opposition to the database seemed bizarre. Lawmakers and police officials around the country — particularly in states like Kentucky, whose OxyContin drug trade is fueled by Florida's pill mills — bellowed in protest. Even Scott's fellow Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi fought to keep the database. Finally, Scott reversed course and agreed. In June, he signed a law that strengthens criminal penalties for overprescribing drugs, requires pain clinics to register with the state, and prohibits most doctors from dispensing narcotics.

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16 comments
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Donna Bird
Donna Bird

You got to read this Article again, oh my goodness, I am become even more speechless- Why in the world did any one voted for these group of idioits. They used FEAR, and this FEAR, should be sued for Bulley people to believe a felon, he is a felon even though he is not convicted.

huweiwei
huweiwei

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WakeUp
WakeUp

Wow, surprised at the morons supporting the worst governor in the county.  I guess there are plenty of tea party rednecks that don't know what's good for them.  The uber-wealthy are using your ignorance to further their self interests.  If you're making under $200,000 a year, they aren't on your side...

Harv
Harv

Eric is really taking this paper down. What a rag it's become. It's amazing he can find someone willing to write this crap.

Jhop052
Jhop052

Ha ha... Go gov. Scott! Keep taking down these communist scum lib-tards!!!! Gotta love dumb-ass lisas' comment about sending the $400 million back to congress to solve???, the fed. Budget crisis...I guess that didn't work either??? Hey lib-tard Lisa.....we still have a budget crisis you stupid bitch!!! Go to hell you commie moron!!!

PROUD_TEXAN
PROUD_TEXAN

Whaaaa! Whaaaa! Whaaaa!

Nice socialist propaganda hit piece Lisa.

Aalan
Aalan

What's to be proud of PROUD_TEXAN? Rick Perry? Another idiot governor.

Burt Scholl
Burt Scholl

This gives some small idea of the extent to which the people of Florida have been afflicted by this vicious regime

Theresa Reynolds
Theresa Reynolds

Great article Lisa!   Scott is a slime ball...and those who voted for him - should accept responsibility for the deplorable condition our state is in.   Think before you vote you idiots!

Glen in Glendale
Glen in Glendale

You're right, Brickell, he's terrific, and the 71% of people who would vote for a ham sandwich over Rick Scott are all idiots. We should have just interviewed you for the article.

Voiceless in Brickell
Voiceless in Brickell

I posted a comment an hour ago that was critical of the level of bias and lack of objectivity in the article above. There was nothing inappropriate but it was nonetheless removed. The article was written provocatively was it not? If not, the refusal to acknowledge bias is a feat deserving of applause.

Middle Class Floridian
Middle Class Floridian

Lisa, I commend you on such a brave article...you are my hero.  Finally, someone is not afraid to speak out about our beloved governor.  I loved every bit of it.  I only hope the next great article you publish will be about this Ricktatorship falling apart and impeachment has been enacted or maybe the chance to recall this governor has finally been approved.It is a sad time when the horrible things that Dick Scott does to the middle class Floridians is no longer a surprise; yet when he does something nice “for the people,” I find myself wondering what’s in it for him.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Singling out Florida may not be fair. There is a fairly proportionate array of dumb ass voters  nationwide. i.e. Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, et al are some prime examples. Check out those governors. I will grant you that Ricky boy has done more damage to the most residents in the shortest time span possible. Now the same voters base that gave him 54 % has decided they don't like him to the tune of a mid 20 % approval rate. WTF happened? Morons is the best I can label them.

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