Governor Asa Hutchinson overrode lawmakers on Friday and says he plans to hire Indiana Company, Youth Investment Opportunities. YOI will run five state youth facilities with the $15.8 million contract, despite lawmakers voting against the review in a 9-5 vote.
Senator Terry Rice said, “for clarification to the mentioned vote of 9 against to 5 for, my motion ‘to review’ the YOI contract so it could proceed was senators only. Senator Chesterfield called for a split vote of the Senate and House, which causes failure if either body doesn’t pass by majority of present members. Since the Senate failed it, the House wasn’t required to vote. In the previous Tuesday ALC review subcommittee, after a one hour discussion, my motion ‘to review’ passed overwhelmingly on a voice vote with only one audible ‘no.’ As expected, Governor Hutchinson has indicated his intention to move forward with the Youth Opportunities contract so they can be in place July 1.”
Those members voting “no,” expressed concerns over YOI’s troubled past.
While the Legislature has the statutory authority to “review” state contracts, the governor can override this vote. The governor was in a similar situation three years ago, where once again, lawmakers failed to approve a contract. Subsequently, the state took over operations.
The transition at the Dermott, Harrisburg, Lewisville and Mansfield facilities is set to take place July 1.