All Politics is Local

What a Clark County legislator didn’t like about a bill giving nurses breaks

There have been plenty of bills this legislative session that have gotten people all worked up, and the most recent concerned giving nurses breaks during their shifts. This week, a Clark County legislator has found something else objectionable surrounding the bill.

The substance of the bill hasn’t been as heated as remarks made by Republican Sen. Maureen Walsh that nurses at smaller hospitals “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day,” which she’s apologized for.

With the legislative session in its final days, both the House and Senate are working intently to hammer out any differences between bills before they’re scheduled to wrap up on Sunday. The bill giving nurses breaks, House Bill 1155, was amended on the Senate floor earlier this month to prohibit certain health care employees from working more than eight hours in a 24-hour period.

On Tuesday, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, sent out a press release stating that the amendment “was opposed by many senators and subsequently triggered public backlash.” The House refused to agree to the amendments and called for the creation of a conference committee where six lawmakers, three from each chamber, met in private to negotiate a final version of the bill.

According to the press release, Cleveland objected to the conference process and instead called for the changes to the bill to be made openly on the Senate floor, considering the public interest it’s generated.

“As I said when we voted on the floor last week, it’s extremely important that we address the issue of rest breaks for the good of the nursing profession, and for that reason I supported the bill even despite the floor amendment I opposed,” Cleveland said in the statement. “Since that time, I have received countless calls and emails from nurses in and outside my district, opposing this bill in its current form.”

The bill still went to conference committee and passed both houses, but now you know that Cleveland didn’t like how that went down.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how Clark County legislators voted on the final bill:

Yes- Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver.

Yes- Sen. Ann Rivers, R- La Center.

No- Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver.

Yes- Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver.

Yes- Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver.

No- Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver.

No- Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver.

No- Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Vancouver.

Excused-Rep. Larry Hoff, R-Vancouver, (he voted “no” on an earlier version.)