Legislative Update February 10, 2012

10 Feb

MNA Legislative Update February 10, 2012


Right to Work
Senator Dave Thompson (R-36, Lakeville) and Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-28B, Mazeppa) introduced a so-called “Right to Work” constitutional amendment.  To read these bills and follow their progress, visit the bill status pages on the Legislature’s website: Senate File 1705, House File 2140.


This legislation, backed by employers, will weaken unions, cut pay and benefits, and worst of all, will take away nurses’ power to advocate for our patients’ safety and our practice. “Right to Work” doesn’t create any jobs, and workers in Right to Work states actually earn significantly less than workers in collective bargaining states. Learn more about this legislation at the MNA website. MNA is continuing to meet with legislators of both parties to educate them on the disadvantages of passing this amendment.


Action: After overwhelming turnout at the last briefing, the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation is holding two more Right to Work briefings for all interested union members:

  • Saturday, February 18, 2012, 10:00 AM

CWA 7200 Hall, 3521 East Lake Street, Minneapolis

  • Thursday, February 23, 6:30 PM

Spring Lake Park VFW, 8100 Northeast Pleasant View Drive, Spring Lake Park


Action: Keep talking to your fellow nurses about the threat of Right to Work, especially the effect it will have on nursing practice and patient safety. Please call the political organizer for your region to let them know how your conversations are going. We are looking for feedback from members on the best ways to talk about this issue with other nurses, so your input is important.


HMO Transparency Update

Due to whistleblower Dave Feinwachs, last session we learned a lot about the Health Maintenance Organizations’ “black box,” the $3 billion in taxpayer dollars (now up to $4 billion) they receive from the state every year to administer public health care programs. The HMOs do not have to report how they spend this money, or what percentage goes to provide health care versus administrative costs, bonuses and marketing.


Legislators are currently crafting a bill that would address this issue. There will be an informational hearing on Tuesday, February 14. No public testimony will be taken at this hearing, but there will be opportunities later in the session. If you are interested in attending:

When:             Tuesday, February 14, 2012 – 12:30-4:00 pm
Where:            Room 200 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul

Felony Criminal Neglect

SF 1586 would make it a felony to intentionally neglect a vulnerable adult.  MNA supports this concept in principle, but we are concerned that the language in its current form would have unintended punitive consequences for nurses facing situations of short staffing.  We are continuing to meet with the bill authors and stakeholders to strengthen the language and protect nurses when the neglect is due to issues regarding staffing, supervision or institutional policies beyond the nurse’s control.


MNA Nurses Day on the Hill
Nurses will be bringing patient advocacy from the bedside to the Capitol on Tuesday, February 28. We’ll brief you on the issues and make appointments for you to meet your legislators with other nurses from your area.

  • Monday, February 27, 2012 – Member Education Program, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
    Crowne Plaza Hotel, St. Paul
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2012 – Capitol Visits and Action, Start at 8:00 a.m., Action at 12:30 p.m.
    State Capitol and State Office Building, St. Paul

So much of patient safety and nursing practice policy is decided at the state capitol. If we don’t advocate for our patients and our profession, no one else will. You can find more information and sign up here.

Precinct Caucus Update

On Tuesday, Minnesota’s political parties held precinct caucuses, and many of you have reported attending and moving resolutions concerning Right to Work and other important statewide issues. Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate. We heard reports back from many nurses who attended DFL and Republican caucuses. If you have an experience about your caucus you’d like to share, please email geri.katz@mnnurses.org.

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