Wash State: Senate passes bill to ban forced overtime for nurses

  1. WASHINGTON STATE: Senate passes bill to ban forced overtime for nurses
    Paul Queary; The Associated Press

    Hospitals would be largely barred from forcing nurses to work overtime if a bill passed Monday by the Senate becomes law.

    The Senate also passed bills toughening penalties for professional car thieves, mandating screening for drug-affected babies, and allowing Seattle voters to tax themselves to expand the city's monorail.

    Senate Bill 6675 would prevent the hospital practice of forcing nurses to work overtime to compensate for chronic shortages of nurses. Nurses groups argue such overtime causes nurses to burn out and make dangerous mistakes on the job.

    "We want to be sure that we cut out mandatory overtime," said Sen. Margarita Prentice ( D-Seattle), a former nurse who sponsored the bill as chairwoman of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Financial Institutions Committee.

    The ban on involuntary overtime wouldn't apply during emergencies.

    The bill had originally applied to a broad variety of hospital workers but was restricted to registered nurses and licensed nurse practitioners to mollify hospitals.

    "This was a tough bill for the hospitals," said Sen. Alex Deccio (R-Yakima).

    The bill passed 40-9 and now moves to the House.

    The Senate also passed:

    * Senate Bill 6470, by Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn), which creates a harsher penalty for professional car thieves. The crime of taking a motor vehicle without permission in the first degree would apply to thieves who stole a car and then altered its appearance, removed its parts, sold it or engaged in a conspiracy to sell it. The charge would carry a penalty of as much as 10 years in prison. The bill passed 40-9, and now goes to the House.

    * Senate Bill 5416, by Sen. Jeri Costa (D-Marysville), to require doctors to screen pregnant and nursing mothers to determine whether their babies are at risk of being drug-affected, and then inform the babies' doctors. The bill passed 42-7 and now moves to the House.

    * Senate Bill 6464, by Sen. Ken Jacobsen (D-Seattle), to allow Seattle voters to create an authority to expand the monorail. Within the city limits, the authority could levy property taxes, motor vehicle excise taxes, sales taxes on car rentals, and vehicle licensing taxes.

    The bill passed 26-23 and now moves to the House.
    Associated Press

    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 28, '02
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  3. by   pebbles
    Is this a national thing, or just one state? I couldn't tell from the article.

    Definitely a big win....
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    National----for any facility receiving Medicare funding.

    ...To address this issue, the ANA has made the prohibition of mandatory overtime--at both the state and federal levels--a major legislative priority. Since the convening of the current Congress in January 2001, the ANA has worked with other organizations representing nurses to develop a consensus on mandatory overtime, to identify sponsors for it in Congress, and to review drafts of the bill as it was being developed.

    These efforts are paying off. At press time, legislation was slated to be introduced in both the House and the Senate to make a prohibition on mandatory overtime for nurses a requirement in Medicare provider agreements.

    The House bill was to be introduced by Representative Pete Stark (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Medicare program. The Senate bill was to be introduced by Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and John Kerry (D-MA). Senator Kerry is a member of the Finance Committee, which has Senate jurisdiction over Medicare, and Senator Kennedy chairs the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and is a leading champion of progressive health care reform.

    Addressing the problem through the Medicare system ensures that this measure would apply to salaried nurses as well as those who are paid on an hourly basis, and to nurses who work in state and local public hospitals. By using health care law, Congress is recognizing that mandatory overtime is a health care crisis that must be addressed if patients are to receive safe and effective care. The ANA believes that emphasizing patient safety and public health aspects of the problem is necessary to develop broad-based support among members of Congress and the public. In that respect, the legislation is similar to special public safety regulations governing transportation workers' hours, which are part of transportation law rather than labor law.

    See previous post for full info:
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 27, '02
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    senate bill 6675 would prevent the hospital practice of forcing nurses to work overtime to compensate for chronic shortages of nurses. nurses groups argue such overtime causes nurses to burn out and make dangerous mistakes on the job.

    keep writing your senators!
  6. by   rncountry
    Karen, It is Washington state this passed in. I was a bit confused because the bill number wasn't right so I went looking. Here is the ditty on it from the ANA.

    Washington state's mandatory overtime prohibition bill (SB 6675), which WSNA has actively supported, passed the state senate on Monday by a vote of 40 to 9. The bill next goes to Washington's House Commerce and Labor Committee. For more information, go to WSNA's website.

    I was so excited at first! Last I knew the bill for the US senate was stalled in the ways and means committee.

  7. by   -jt
    The bills written by & pushed for by the state nurses associations on issues like this one are based on the national bill that is part of the national safe staffing legislation supported by the ANA.

    There is an ongoing campaign in the ANA state associations to work simultaneously to obtain these state laws across the nation because the federal elected officials look to their state legislations to see what is being done on a particular issue in their home state. What they find usually guides their votes at the federal level. So the more states that have this state legislation in the works, the more federal legislators there will be voting for it at the national level. Currently, legislation on mandatory ot restrictions is in the works in the legislatures of 16 states and already passed in New Jersey, Maine, and Oregon.

    The American Nurses Association's
    Nationwide State Legislative Agenda on Staffing
  8. by   -jt
    Wisconsin nurses just got their mandatory ot bill passed by their State Senate too but it looks like they have a fight on their hands getting it thru the State Assembly. I hope Washington State nurses have it easier......

    Wisconsin nurses will be busy turning up the letter writing & pressure on their State Assemblymen with this one......

    "State Senate backs ban on forced OT for nurses
    but Bill likely to face Assembly opposition over staffing shortage

    Madison - A bill to ban mandatory overtime for nurses and other health care workers won Senate approval Tuesday, but a key Assembly leader said it was a contract issue best left to labor and management, not lawmakers.

    On a 19-14 vote, the Senate passed a bill introduced by Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit), a registered nurse........."
    full article at: http://www.jsonline.com/news/state/feb02/23515.asp