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Reason Alert: Annual Privatization Report

  • Reason Foundation’s 22nd Annual Privatization Report
  • Mississippi Finally Dumps Medical Examiner
  • War on Drugs, Feds Take Down an Innocent Man
  • New at and

Reason Foundation’s 22nd Annual Privatization Report
The federal government’s competitive sourcing efforts saved taxpayers $7.2 billion over the last five years, according to Reason Foundation’s 22nd Annual Privatization Report, released today. Competitive sourcing allows the private sector to compete for jobs and contracts that are currently performed by the government. Federal employees actually won 83 percent of the job competitions from fiscal 2003 through fiscal 2007. But taxpayers are the real winners: the Annual Privatization Report shows taxpayers save $25,000 for every job that is put up for competition because even when the government keeps the job it significantly improves efficiency and reduces costs. The report examines the latest trends in privatization and public-private partnerships at the federal, state and local levels. A few of the Annual Privatization Report‘s other notable points include:
– Today, there are over 70 public-private partnership infrastructure projects worth $104 billion at various stages of development in the United States.
– In the 2007-08 school year, 347 new charter schools opened in 40 different states.
– The five states with the largest school choice programs are Florida (39,000 students), Pennsylvania (38,000 students), Arizona (28,000 students), Wisconsin (19,000 students) and Ohio (14,000 students).
Other topics explored in the report include toll roads, airports, airport security, telecommunications, municipal broadband, water systems, and prisons.
» Annual Privatization Report
» Press Release

Mississippi Finally Dumps Medical Examiner
This week Mississippi finally ended its relationship with Steven Hayne, saying he would no longer perform autopsies for the state. For nearly two decades, Hayne has performed most of the autopsies in Mississippi, but as Reason magazine’s Radley Balko first reported, Hayne “isn’t certified by the American Board of Pathology, the only organization recognized by the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Medical Specialties as capable of certifying forensic pathologists.” Balko also detailed the National Association of Medical Examiners’ guidelines state that a medical examiner should perform no more than 250 autopsies per year – Hayne has claimed to do 1,800 a year. In 2007, the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out the capital murder conviction of Tyler Edmonds, citing Balko’s Reason magazine article, “The Case of Cory Maye,” in which he notes that Hayne’s testimony has put hundreds, maybe thousands, of defendants behind bars. Hayne also conducted the autopsies in the murder cases that sent two innocent men, Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks, to prison, where they were wrongly locked up for over 30 years combined. Now that the state has cut its ties with Hayne, the question becomes how many of his other cases will Mississippi be willing to revisit in the name of justice and fairness?
» Radley Balko: CSI Mississippi
» “In Mississippi, the Cause of Death Is Open to the Highest Bidder”
» Balko: The Case of Cory Maye
» Drew Carey Video: Mississippi Drug War Blues
» Study: How to Improve Forensics Science (.pdf)

War on Drugs, Feds Take Down an Innocent Man’s Drew Carey told us about Charles Lynch in June. Lynch opened a business with the support of his local government. Morro Bay’s mayor and members of the Chamber of Commerce even attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of Lynch’s medical marijuana dispensary. But the federal government doesn’t care that California voters legalized medical marijuana in 1996. And this week Lynch was convicted on five counts of violating federal drug laws. He faces five to 85 years in prison for filling legal prescriptions written by doctors. The feds pointed out that some of those prescriptions were for minors – minors like Owen Beck, who lost a leg to cancer and had a medical marijuana prescription from his Stanford doctors. The Lynch case is just the latest illustration of how badly the war on drugs is failing and how wrong the Supreme Court was in the Raich case, where the Court basically gave the federal government the right to regulate anything under the commerce clause.’s Nick Gillespie writes, “Lynch is one of the countless casualties of an idiotic and tragically long-running war on drugs…There’s only one good possibility to come out of this verdict: That its manifest injustice and stupidity and inhumanity (to Lynch and his customers) will help spark a long overdue reaction to the drug war and its punishing toll on individuals and basic Constitutional rights.” In the short-term, it seems that only presidential priorities can stop this madness. Earlier this year, Sen. John McCain declared, “I don’t believe that medical marijuana is necessary for alleving pain, relief of pain. I don’t believe it’s healthy…I believe it is a national issue and not a statewide issue.” When asked what he’d do to stop federal raids in states where voters have made medical marijuana legal, McCain said, “Nothing.” Sen. Barack Obama took the opposite stance: “When it comes to medical marijuana, I have more of a practical view than anything else. I mean, my attitude is that if it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else.” When asked if we would stop the DEA raids, Obama said, “I would because I think our federal agents have better things to do, like catching criminals and preventing terrorism.”
» Video: Interviews With Jury Foreperson and Lynch’s Attorneys After the Guilty Verdict
» Drew Carey Video: The Stories of Charles Lynch and Owen Beck
» Drew Carey: “I think it’s clear by now that the federal government needs to reclassify marijuana. People who need it should be able to get it – safely and easily.”