The pay plan didn’t tangle up negotiations, but a vending contract for the manufacturing of state license plates did.
On Friday, the House and Senate agreed to throw out language the House wanted that would have reserved the job of making state license tags for PRIDE, a Brandon company that has had the contract for 30 years.
“The Senate respectfully believes that it’s better not to limit the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles when they look for cost-saving alternatives for manufacturing license plates,” Negron said Friday. “And we prefer that that be a competitive process rather than limited to one particular vendor.”
But on Saturday, the Senate changed its mind, and the language was back in the legislation.
“In between meetings, a number of senators felt that PRIDE has a long and distinguished record in working with inmates, helping them gain employment skills, life skills and other things they’ll need when they complete their sentence to become productive members of society who can get and keep jobs,” Negron said.
Afterward, Negron said he couldn’t recall which senators spoke to him about PRIDE. Gaetz’s spokeswoman, Katie Betta, said the Senate president supported the move. She said he had visited its facility and had been impressed and believed the rate of recidivism is lower among the inmates who work for PRIDE.
“He believes they’re able to learn important job skills,” Betta said.
Claims of PRIDE’s success with inmates have been disputed. In 2007, Florida Corrections Secretary James McDonough complained that PRIDE does little to reduce recidivism, because it employs a stagnant 2 percent of inmates.
The Senate’s action extends PRIDE’s contract for one year and prevents the highway safety agency from seeking proposals from private firms to manufacture a redesigned license plate.
Herald/Times staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.