ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The idea of a private prison in Minnesota is running into considerable opposition.

The proposed House bill requires the Department of Corrections to solicit bids from private companies that want to house the state's inmates. Gov. Mark Dayton' new appointee to head the Department of Corrections, Commissioner Tom Roy, says state prisons should remain in the public sector.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Torrey Westrom, of Elbow Lake, says Minnesota needs competitive bidding on prisons to reduce the cost to taxpayers. But, the head of the union representing 1,900 correctional officers says private prisons for profit "have become a nasty business."

DOC facilities director David Crist says no Minnesota prisons are currently overcrowded, but the state might need to rent beds in county jails for several hundred inmates late next year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)