TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Public employee unions are mulling their options after a judge refused to reopen a lawsuit challenging Florida's plan to privatize prison health care.

Officials with the Florida Nurses Association and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said on Thursday they had not yet decided what to do.

The groups challenged a budget provision calling for the privatization.

Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll refused to rule last month because the budget provision expired July 1.

The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, is proceeding with the privatization, contending it has other legal authority to outsource health services.

Carroll on Monday rejected the plaintiffs' motion to rehear the case in response to the department's new plan.

Options for the unions include appealing or filing a new lawsuit.