Monday, May 30, 2005
ModernHealthCare.com reported that the state of California lost a preliminary ruling in the Sacramento Superior Court against the California Nurses Association. The issue was whether Governor Schwarzenegger and the state Department of Health Services had the authority to relax the state's nurse-to-patient ratios. Judge Judy Hersher ruled that the state had overstepped its authority in November 2004 by issuing an emergency regulation that loosened certain provisions of the staffing laws and delayed for three years a tightening of the medical-surgical ratio to one nurse for every five patients from one for every six. The judge reasoned that the administration "failed to follow the procedures established by law in determining that the regulations were necessary for the immediate preservation of public health and safety." The AP reports that the Schwarzenegger administration protests that this ruling will exacerbate an already critical shortage of nurses in California. The state will appeal this ruling and the preliminary injunction that blocked the regulation.
The emergency order issued by Governor Schwarzenegger incited a strong and intense opposition campaign from the nurses. The campaign consisted of pickets, television commercials, and aerial advertising. The Washington Post reported that the nurses demonstrated at Arnold's appearances, with Arnold responding with "Don't mind the special interest. I kick their butts every day in Sacramento." The AP commented that many political analysts have seen this protest as the mere beginning of Schwarzenegger's declining popularity as he fights special interest groups. The Executive Director of the California Nursing Association, Rose Ann DeMoro, wrote an editorial in the San Jose Mercury News that proposes three ideas for more comprehensive solutions than the Governor's that will be on the ballot in the special election. The three solutions are universal health care, making corporations pay their fair share, and financing campaigns with clean money.
Thanks to my research assistant, Lindley Bain, for help with this post. [tm]