Ohio to high court: Using budget bill to privatize prisons no violation of single-subject rule

Markets Associated Press

State lawyers tell the Ohio Supreme Court that using a budget bill to privatize state prisons didn't violate a constitutional provision holding bills to a single subject.

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In a brief filed Monday, Ohio said the state's budget involves both revenues and expenses — not just appropriations.

The filing comes in a legal dispute with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association. The prison workers union sued over privatization in 2012, contending that lawmakers extended beyond the single-subject rule when they used the budget to sell a state prison and turn others over to private operators.

An appellate court agreed, finding in October that there was no "rational relationship" between the privatization plan and state spending.

The state says privatization saved Ohio money and so had "obvious budget connections."