- Public funds for private education goes on ballot in Nebraska
- Wisconsin public education advocates challenge voucher funding
- ITPI looks at Ohio’s voucher free-for-all that allows broad LGBTQ discrimination
1) National: Legislation to support stillbirth prevention heads to the House after receiving unanimous Senate approval. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) “urged the House to quickly pass the bill, citing the devastating impact stillbirth has on parents and families. He emphasized that some stillbirths can be prevented. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, an original co-sponsor, said he was grateful the Senate came together to unanimously pass the legislation and echoed the hope that it continues to move swiftly through Congress. ‘Effective problem solving starts with having a thorough understanding of root causes, contributors and vulnerabilities,’ he said in a statement. ‘Our bill would get rid of limits on federal resources so that the medical community can further pursue evidence-based efforts to support expectant moms and save babies’ lives.’”
2) National: The Biden administration has taken junk-fee prohibition to a new level. “New FTC rules will require all businesses to show all fees up front, as well as clear disclosure of whether fees are refundable,” the American Prospectreports. “This rule would apply to event tickets, hotels, car rentals, apartment rentals, and more. Companies that failed to comply would pay fines as well as customer refunds.”
3) National/Think Tanks: Coming soon. The Education Wars: A Citizens Guide and Defense Manual by Jennifer C. Berkshire and Jack Schneider.
4) Florida: Two new locals have been added to AFSCME in Florida despite the state’s repressive legal and political environment. “Paramedics, EMTs and communication specialists who work for the University of Florida (UF) Health Shands Hospital and employees for the Town of Bay Harbor Islands formed new locals after voting to ratify their contracts last month. The UF local will be based in Gainesville—home to the University of Florida—but will cover members across northern Florida. Turnout rates for both ratification votes were above 90%. ‘The biggest win is really the ability to have a voice on the job,” said Scott Coker, a flight paramedic with ShandsCair based in Gainesville.’”
5) Hawaii: The leaky fuel tank facility that poisoned Pearl Harbor, sickened 6,000 people and threatened local communities will be drained. ““I want the community to know that my team and I understand the enormity and the significance of this mission,” said Vice Admiral John Wade, the commander of Joint Task Force-Red Hill. (…) Wade said it would take three months to remove 99.9% of the fuel. Then, work will begin to remove a residual amount of an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 gallons that will have accumulated in low-point drains and bends. That work is expected to be finished in the spring.”
6) Maryland: Workers at the Howard County Public Library System are unionizing to fix longstanding problems. “Organizing efforts began after a group of employees met last year following sweeping job duty restructuring. The employees met to discuss the challenges within the library system. After realizing the library system’s administration had done little to address staff’s longstanding concerns over transparency, staff support, and safety, workers decided it was time to take action and unionize. Their goals are outlined in their organizing committee letter, signed by nearly 80 HCLS employees.”
7) Nebraska: Public school supporters in the Cornhusker State have won a major victory. “‘The overwhelming success of this petition sends a clear message to the Governor and state lawmakers: Nebraskans want to vote on the issue of diverting public tax dollars to pay for private schools,’ said Jenni Benson, a sponsor of Support Our Schools Nebraska and president of the Nebraska State Education Association. ‘This was a decisive victory and the first step to ensure public funds are used to support public schools, not private schools. Nebraskans cannot afford to pay for two school systems. Now we redouble our efforts to inform Nebraskans of the harm LB 753 will cause if it is not repealed.’
The controversial bill was signed into law earlier this year after numerous failed attempts and despite strong opposition from a diverse coalition of parents, teachers, faith leaders, and education policy experts. Polling consistently shows most Nebraskans oppose measures that divert public dollars to private schools, with 55% of likely voters in favor of repealing LB 753. Nebraska is currently the only state with a school privatization referendum on the ballot in 2024.
‘Time and again, voters across the country have rejected voucher schemes, which have proven to be expensive, unaccountable, and ineffective.’”
8) Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Public Education Network “joins advocates for students across the state in applauding the lawsuit filed yesterday challenging the public funding for Wisconsin private school vouchers and independent charters—a failed ‘experiment’ that is bad for both taxpayers and students.” The suit challenges Wisconsin’s school funding structure in four key areas:
- The non-public use of public funds that go to voucher schools;
- The unfairness of the tax system in diverting local school districts’ funds to private schools, thereby overburdening property taxpayers to fund public schools;
- The lack of oversight over private voucher schools by the Department of Public Instruction, despite the schools’ receipt of public funds; and
- The arbitrary and insufficient limits placed on school districts’ revenue.”
9) International: The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) co-sponsored a session on finance and P3s at the “Reclaiming our Future” Conference, that took place on 9 October 2023 in Marrakech in the context of the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. “The session, titled ‘Why focusing on private finance and Public-Private Partnerships is not the solution to the polycrisis?’ explored the effects of the private sector bias by development finance institutions and multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank Group, highlighting the negative impacts of privatisation and PPPs implemented in both the Global South and the Global North. Furthermore, it provided a platform to share experiences from ongoing CSO campaigns and case studies to expose these problematic practices. In the wake of multiple and interconnected crises, the promotion of private finance and PPPs is a false solution that needs to be challenged with a strong call for high quality public services.”
10) National: “School police officers do more harm than good. Why do politicians still push for them?” asks Chase Heslop. “Despite this original claim that relationships with the youth would improve, there has not been any conclusive evidence that an officer presence improves youth relationships with law enforcement. In fact, the research is quite mixed. However, we do know a couple of things about SROs. We know that having armed officers on the premises of schools has not prevented school shootings. We know that overall youth crime has been on the decline since the 1990s, but that youth arrests are up in schools with SROs to the tune of 3.5 times the rate of schools without officers. Despite this, lawmakers continuously push for more school officers in the name of safety, despite researchers saying you cannot accurately claim this alleged improvement.”
11) National: Writing in Radical Scholarship, P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education at Furman University, links high stakes testing to the “perpetual education crisis.” He says “while all that test data itself may or may not be valuable information for both how well students are learning and how to better serve those students through reform, ultimately all that testing has almost nothing to do with either of those goals; in fact, test data in the US are primarily fuel for that perpetual state of crisis. (…) The larger issue remains: Testing in the US rarely serves well evaluating learning and teacher, testing has not functioned in service of achieving effective education reform, but testing does fuel perpetual education crisis. This crisis-of-the-day about the ACT parallels the central problem with NAEP, a test that seems designed to mislead and not inform since NAEP’s “Proficient” feeds a false narrative that a majority of students are not on grade level as readers.”
12) National: What’s the value of a liberal arts education? “It’s become commonplace to hear Humanities degrees condemned as a waste of money, purportedly not readying students for the world of work. Author and literary critic Gayle Greene counters that they have never been more necessary—yet are disappearing from higher education. Resources: Gayle Greene, Immeasurable Outcomes: Teaching Shakespeare in the Age of the Algorithm (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023). The post The Value of a (Disappearing) Humanities Education appeared first on KPFA. [Listen to the podcast. About an hour]
13) National: Writing in The Progressive, opposition researcher and labor activist Glenn Daigon says we need to redouble our efforts confront right wing book banning. “Now that almost all schools have reopened for the new school year, followers of education policy and politics, as well as free speech advocates, are watching closely to see if there will be efforts to pass more of these laws. Last school year, at least seven states passed ambiguously-worded laws that criminalized school teachers and librarians for exposing students to books that have been deemed as too “obscene.” Governors in two of these states vetoed the new laws, but “[a]nother dozen states considered more than twenty similar bills this year, half of which are likely to come up again in 2024,” according to The Washington Post.”
14) National: Plutocratic philanthropists are bad for schools—and democracy—says Nora Reikosky, the winner of the 2023 Have You Heard Graduate Student Research Contest. Reikosky was interviewed on Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider’s Have You Heard? podcast. “The power of plutocrats to shape and limit public debate is on the increase. That’s bad for K-12 education and for democracy… As a young ‘Googler,’ Nora witnessed first-hand the power of corporate philanthropy and its slick sales pitch, an experience that shapes her research into what she calls “pipeline philanthropy.” [Audio, about 35 minutes]
15) Florida: “We’re being attacked,” say Florida teachers. “Kathleen Gates, a retired teacher who had taught for many years at Brooksville Elementary School in the Hernando County School District, described preparing for that school board meeting as if she were going into battle. Before she left her house that evening, she printed out her will and put it on the table, along with a letter to her family. “I really did not expect to make it home,” she said during a recent conference on teaching difficult topics in the current partisan political environment, particularly in Florida.” Gates was one of four Florida educators to share their recent experiences teaching in the state at the “Freedom to Teach: Confronting Complex Themes in Contested Spaces” conference, hosted by Flagler College in St. Augustine.
16) Florida: Sarasota public schools have imposed a hiring freeze. Superintendent Terry Connor said in an email that “student enrollment was lower than expected this year, with a recent analysis showing several contributing factors, including shifting demographics, population changes, students moving out of the county and the implementation of school choice legislation such as House Bill 1. Florida’s HB1 expanded access to vouchers for students to enroll in private schools with public funding. ‘Given the direct relationship between our enrollment numbers and our budgetary considerations, such deviations have implications for our financial planning and resource allocation,’ he wrote.”
17) Louisiana: Does the so-called efficiency of privatization rest on slashing workers’ compensation and retirement security? A test case in Louisiana suggests it does. A Louisiana law that compels school districts that privatize their bus services to continue paying pension support for workers is back in focus. “East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Mike Gaudet mentioned this 2006 law during a school board debate in August on school bus service to argue that privatizing bus service in East Baton Rouge at present does not make financial sense. The 2006 law, however, has no impact on newly created charter schools. These privately-run public schools typically hire a bus service rather than try to run their own bus fleet. The law does not prevent school districts from hiring private bus companies as long as the districts aren’t laying off their own transportation workers.”
18) Ohio: Jeff Hagan, In the Public Interest’s communications director, takes on taxpayer funding of discriminatory religious schools. “The problem isn’t just that these institutions discriminate, but rather that, as institutions of learning, they are teaching and perpetuating discrimination. And they are doing it with public dollars, in the name of all Ohioans,” writes Hagan. “Our Lady of Peace, a Columbus Catholic school, reassured parents that the state money would not interfere with its way of doing business. ‘Although we’ve heard the concern that accepting EdChoice money comes with “strings attached” and waters down Catholic education, this has not been our experience. We have always accepted EdChoice funding, and we’ve never been asked to compromise our identity in Christ Jesus and in His Church. If anything, we’ve found that the program only enriches our school and opens new opportunities for evangelization.’ Those opportunities for evangelization—and discrimination–are increasingly brought to you by the citizens of Ohio.”
19) Tennessee: The Tennessee charter school commission takes its marching orders from Republican Governor Bill Lee, says Gabe Hart, chief communications officer for Haywood County Schools and a former teacher of English and Literature.. “On Oct. 6, the Tennessee Public Charter Schools Commission (appointed by Gov. Bill Lee) reversed the decision of the Jackson-Madison County School Board to deny the application of an American Classical Education (ACE) school, opening the door for the Hillsdale College-affiliated school to begin siphoning students and funding from the local school system. While the unanimous decision to reverse the denial was unsurprising, the exhaustive list of reasons for ACE not to be granted a school in Madison County did warrant some shock on my part. The list kept growing and growing, and as it did, it brought to mind the title of a book I read a few years ago: Apeirogon.”
20) Texas: So what’s happening in the special legislative session on education forced by Republican Gov. Greg “You Will get Vouchers the Hard Way or the Easy Way” Abbott? The Senate has acted and now it’s the turn of the House. Writing in Reform Austin, Jovanka Palacios breaks it down. “During the regular session, Gov. Abbott crusaded for vouchers in rural areas where Republican members of the Texas House are against them, hoping to get them and their constituents on board the voucher train. But when it came down to voting on Senate legislation that included voucher-like amendments, ‘school choice’ faced opposition. The good news? Vouchers died thanks to firm opposition in the House. The bad news? Vouchers were tied to a bill that would have allocated funding to public schools. Meaning? Despite having a historic budget surplus, legislators failed to increase the basic allotment, which hasn’t been touched since 2019, or raise teacher pay. Texas ranks 28th in the nation for teacher pay, $7,652 less than the national average, according to the latest National Education Association report.” It boils down to “will legislators stand for public education or privatize taxpayer dollars?” says Palacios.
21) Virginia/National: Public school is the place to teach the contention of democracy, not censor it, writes Monte F. Bourjaily, IV. “Fights over public education in Virginia and other states that propose to divert resources from public schools or limit the ideas students can explore threaten democracy at its roots. I am a Fairfax County, Virginia public school teacher and a parent. I teach courses on government, American history and law in society. As such, I am a civics teacher and I take seriously my job to teach young people how to engage effectively as citizens in our democracy. Attacks on public education that seek to defund and muzzle it divert our attention away from the civic ideas on which the United States was founded: equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, within the rule of law. Public school is the forum for teaching young people how to engage with the contentious ideas that sustain our democracy. That training is necessary for democratic self-rule and public school ensures the access promised by the Declaration of Independence.”
22) International/Pakistan: Students in Pindi Bhattian (Punjab) have staged a protest against school privatization. “According to details, a large number of students gathered on the Motorway and staged a protest against the matter. As a result of the protest, the road was blocked from both sides which caused inconvenience for the travelers. The students also closed the Pindi Bhattian bypass and continued the protest.”
23) National/International: Well the privatization industry’s trade press has been cut to the quick by Brett Christopher’s excellent and devastating new critique of the private financing industry, Our Lives in Their Portfolios, whose defense is, let’s face it, at the core of their reason to exist. There is obviously not enough space here to respond in detail to editor Michael Bennon’s massive 2,500 word cri de coeur in defense of plundering the public sector (which covers the first five pages of this month’s issue of Public Works Financing), so let’s just make two observations.
First, it is not particularly intellectually honest to dismiss, as Bennon does, well considered and supported empirical evidence to back up a critique, as he does in the case of the Chicago parking meters deal, the Bayonne water treatment P3, and the U.K.’s disastrous (even in the view of P3 industry analysts) Private Finance Initiative, as “anecdotes.” This just falls into the category of “nothing to see here,” the usual knee jerk PR annex response to corporate bad behavior.
But secondly, there is a methodological basis for such superficiality, which indicates that Bennon has missed the main point of Christopher’s book. This is a failure to admit that corporate-dominated politics, not efficiency, drives the P3 industry and is behind most, if not all, of the many bad P3 deals that have erupted into the headlines (or, more often, get buried in the business pages). It is well known that there is such a thing as “private equity brain” which sees the only relevant variables as project revenue, interest rates, and the term of an investment (often five years), with the rest being seen as noise. Well, that “noise” is, in fact, as Christopher amply points out, our lives and our right to democratically control how our public money is spent, how to decide what the public interest is, and what a good or bad deal is. Hiding behind poor (or worse) public administrators, making a virtue of gouging the public, or failing to live up to a contract (of which Christopher provides many examples) has become a way of life for the P3 PR industry. There is a word for abusing the public by using the vocabulary of a term sheet or a spreadsheet, as is being explained to our last president in a New York courtroom at the moment.
24) National: A tsunami of EV junk is about to inundate America’s already challenged recycling infrastructure. What role should the public sector play in regulating this? According to the Financial Times, we’ve got some time but it’s only about a decade. “It takes about two decades to turn over every car on US highways, so the question of how to handle batteries is not urgent. Still, executives are thinking about it. This year LKQ signed a memorandum of understanding with Seoul-based smelter Korea Zinc. The plan, said chief executive Dominick Zarcone, was to ‘work towards a potential large-scale joint venture’ to recycle EV batteries.” But already we’re hearing noises from the privatization industrywarning that government regulation (“a cumbersome permitting system”) of what is bound to be a monumental environmental challenge would be bad for business.
25) Georgia: A big battle over private property rights vs. the public’s right of access to waterways is brewing in Georgia. “The state settled with the Upson County landowner earlier this year, which alarmed proponents of public access who worried other landowners would try to follow suit. The issue landed before state lawmakers just as the 2023 session was winding down, leading them to use late-session maneuvers to pass a bill designed to protect the public’s access to fishing on waterways deemed navigable. But another landowner has since filed a lawsuit in Talbot County seeking exclusive fishing rights on a stretch of the river that they argue is non-navigable. The state has asked for the case to be dismissed. As the matter works its way through the courts, state lawmakers are also holding a series of meetings this month on the issue.”
26) Illinois: Infrastructure giant AECOM has signed a deal with the Chicago Department of Water Management to provide program management. “In this role, AECOM-DBS will manage the capital improvement program for DWM’s facilities, which deliver nearly 750 million gallons of drinking water to residents daily. Work will focus on numerous DWM assets, including improvements to its 4,300-mile water distribution system, 12 pumping stations, and two of the world’s largest water purification plants.”
27) Ohio: Here comes the vote on whether or not to privatize Cincinnati’s rail line. “The fiery catastrophe [in East Palestine] spurred calls for a national crackdown on rail monopolies that have slashed their workforces to pad profits and enrich investors, while opposing new safety regulations on trains transporting hazardous materials. While no crackdown has occurred, the cloud of the disaster looms over a November ballot measure in Cincinnati, Ohio, asking voters to approve the sale of the city’s publicly owned rail line to Norfolk Southern, which has been operating on the tracks since the nineteenth century.”
28) Pennsylvania: Save the date. This Wednesday, October 18, Pittsburgh UNITED will be having a listening session “to share your experiences with [Wilkinsburg Penn Joint Water Authority (WPJWA)] and help us fight to hold the water provider accountable to our communities. Details below.”
29) Texas: A good question and a great suggestion from Kevin DeGood at the Center for American Progress. “How can TxDOT add 4 lanes to I-35 through Austin based on such an obviously flawed environmental review/EIS? A: NEPA assignment authority. It’s time for FHWA to review TxDOT’s work and potentially revoke its NEPA authority.”
30) International/Africa/Nigeria: The Our Water, Our Right Coalition (OWORAC), led by civil society and trade unionists from about 12 African countries, is moving against government plans to privatize water in Africa. “The Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa and also a member, OWORAC, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “Water is not a commodity to be traded, bartered or sold to the highest bidder. ”The rich countries of the global north must stop funding neo-colonial commodification practices in global south countries, especially in Africa, disguised as benevolent development aid and interventions. ‘The capitalist pillage of Africa’s water, masquerading as innovative solutions, is a crime against the people and is unacceptable.’ He noted that during this week, in which community leaders celebrate and work to protect the human right to water, those pushing dangerous privatization schemes would descend upon the continent for the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Marrakech, Morocco.”
31) Think Tanks: The Anti-Corruption Resource Centre has produced a useful resource on corruption in infrastructure development. “Roughly one-half of all fixed capital investment by governments is in the construction of public infrastructure—an essential component of economic growth and social development, especially in developing countries (Pyman 2021). Yet at the same time governments, citizens and funders are frequently dissatisfied with the outcomes of infrastructure projects as they often involve the waste or misallocation of precious state resources. Corruption can have serious consequences for infrastructure projects across three areas. First, corruption in infrastructure provision is likely to increase prices and inflate project costs. Secondly, corruption can cause delays in project completion and lead to poor quality infrastructure. Thirdly, corruption in infrastructure development is likely to distort the public spending structure, with a bias towards high value, high complexity investments into new infrastructure as opposed to spending on maintenance and operations.”
32) National: Generation Z is shying away from public service for all the wrong reasons, says Professor Shannon Portillo, director of the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University. “Recent research shows that while millennials and members of Gen Z are more politically engaged than their older counterparts, they aren’t interested in considering government employment. But I think we’re missing some really important parts of the local government story. There is a pervasive narrative about public service, that public service careers are callings, not jobs, and they won’t be financially rewarding. This isn’t all wrong, when we think of classic public service career professions like police, fire, teaching and corrections, there are major financial hurdles that we have to work out. But local government does a lot more than this.”
33) National/New Jersey: Political leaders are supporting community demands to close CoreCivic’s ICE detention facility in Elizabeth. “The letter comes during a legal battle over a New Jersey law prohibiting local jails from entering into new contracts to house immigration detainees. CoreCivic has sued Gov. Phil Murphy and Attorney General Matthew Platkin, claiming the statute, AB 5207, is unconstitutional and superseded by federal law. A federal judge in August ruled in the company’s favor, allowing the site to stay open, but the state has appealed. In the letter, Watson Coleman and Menendez urged the federal agencies to “take immediate steps to terminate” the government’s contract with CoreCivic. They also asked them to move those housed at the facility to “alternatives to detention.” Such programs allow detainees 18 years and older who have a pending immigration case to remain in their community pending the outcome of the case. Menendez, the son of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, said he heard from Homeland Security that the agency is putting together information before issuing a response.” [Sub required]
34) National: The overworked and underfunded National Labor Relations Board has experienced a 10% rise in unfair labor practice charges, and a 3% rise in union petitions, in FY2023. “In another notable election-related development, after the Board released its decision in Cemex, Field Offices received 28 RM petitions filed by employers after being asked to voluntarily recognize employees’ union. Under the Cemex framework, when a union requests recognition on the basis that a majority of employees in an appropriate bargaining unit have designated the union as their representative, an employer must either recognize and bargain with the union or promptly file an RM petition. This increase in activity in the Agency’s field offices resulted in a corresponding increase in workload for the adjudicative side of the agency. The Board issued 246 decisions in contested cases during FY 2023, including more than a dozen significant precedent-setting cases, an uptick from 243 decisions in FY 2022. The Board’s increased productivity also slightly lowered the median age of cases pending before the Board—from 108 days in FY 2022 to 106 days in FY 2023.”
35) National: ICE paid millions for empty detention beds in Georgia, the DHS Inspector General’s office has found. “Further, Stewart was found to have a deficient grievance process. Staff not only failed to acknowledge or respond to formal grievances, but they also made it difficult for detainees with limited English skills to file complaints in the first place. Inspectors also found instances of “commingling” between low-custody and high-custody detainees, a violation of ICE detention standards. Despite those issues, the government subsidized the privately-run detention center to the tune of millions of dollars. During a recent calendar year, ICE paid $12.6 million for beds that went unused to CoreCivic, the company contracted to run Stewart. The agency guaranteed payment for 1,600 detainees per day at a fixed, daily rate of $67.68 per bed. But during a one-year timeframe from November 2021 to November 2022, Stewart’s daily population was nowhere near the 1,600-threshold, averaging just over 1,000 instead. That meant that the federal government had to pay CoreCivic millions to cover the cost of roughly 600 empty beds every day.”
For more on this national issue of taxpayer money wasted on bed guarantees to private prison companies, see In the Public Interest’s “Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and ‘Low-Crime Taxes’ Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations.”
36) Missouri: 260 Missourians are waiting in jails for mental health services, the Missouri Independent reports. “Services in jail-based competency restoration will include room and board, along with medical care for 10 slots at each jail, contracted staff from a local behavioral health organization, and psychiatric care from DMH’s ‘mobile team practitioners.’ The agency hopes to reduce wait times through the program. They have not provided a timeline for when it will be up and running. Elsewhere, there have been recent high-profile lawsuits against long wait times in jail for those needing mental health services in states including Indiana, Kansas and Pennsylvania, arguing that long wait times are unconstitutional because they deprive people of due process.”
37) New Jersey: The Cape May County Board of County Commissioners has decided to privatize operation of the county-run Crest Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “County Counsel Jeff Lindsay said 26 Crest Haven employees would be retained in other county departments, because they had the ability to “bump” someone with the same job title, due to seniority. Some 84 unionized workers will lose their county jobs but could be hired by Allaire. A call to Allaire’s public relations department was not immediately returned, but the person answering the phone said the company has a retention rate of about 98% of the existing employees.”
38) International/Canada: A rally in Charlottetown (PEI) has called for universal pharmacare and an end to health care privatization. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh signed a political agreement last year committing to the passage of a bill establishing a universal national pharmacare program by the end of this year. Boyd urged the federal government to fulfill its pharmacare promises by the end of 2023, following the model proposed by Hoskins. ‘I hope every provincial health minister and every territorial minister will tell the federal minister that we want a public universal pharmacare system, that it would make medicines available to all Canadians, because it’s not just giving it to a few people who don’t have it. Universal always works better,’ Boyd said.”
39) International/Kenya: Should parliament have a role in deciding privatization? A row has broken out over a new Privatisation Bill. “Additionally, Orange Democratic Party (ODM) Chair John Mbadi shared similar sentiments to Aukot, asserting that the exclusion of Parliament from the privatisation process goes against the principles of democracy. ‘Public assets belong to the people. This bill, however, is anti-people and anti-democracy. You can improve efficiency without taking the people’s power, contrary to the argument that it is improving efficiency,’ Mbadi remarked. President William Ruto’s signing of the Privatization Bill, 2023, aimed at enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness of Kenya’s productive resources, stirred debate as it curtails the power of the Parliament in the privatisation process.”
40) National: Privatized vaccine distribution is sparking confusion and payment challenges. “In September, approximately 4 million people received updated doses of the Pfizer Inc / BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc vaccines, with 12 million doses shipped, Reuters noted, citing data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Kaiser Permanente said they have limited out-of-network vaccine coverage, except in California. Members can get reimbursed for COVID-19 vaccines from non-Kaiser providers until November 11. The privatized vaccine distribution system has led to upfront payment requests, which the government previously covered during the public health emergency declaration. Health insurance plans are now legally obligated to cover the vaccine costs, while pharmacies and healthcare providers order shots directly from manufacturers. (…) However, some pharmacy chains, such as CVS Health Corp , have reported ongoing delivery delays from their wholesalers, while Walmart Inc and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc are actively offering updated COVID-19 shots as supplies become available. Major distributors like McKesson Corporation and Cardinal Health Inc have also acknowledged some short-term shipping delays.”
41) California: Join @thepublicsquare on the west steps of the Capitol in Sacramento Wednesday 10/18 @ 6pm for a conversation about, “How Can Workers Make Sure They’re Treated Fairly on the job?” Attend in person for free in Sacramento or online — RSVP here.