Like most other activities this year, The Arizona Nurses’ Association (AzNA) annual RN Advocacy Day was held as a virtual presentation. AzNA did a great job of making the format easy to navigate with interesting information. Some fascinating things include:
· More than 1,000 bills are submitted to the legislature every year. Only 25% get through the entire process.
· Bill numbers are recycled, those listed below if brought back next year will have a new number.
· There are NO nurses in the legislature – the legislators need our input to understand the real issues of health care.
· Gallup Poll had ranked nurses as the most trusted profession for the past 18 years.
· Two RNs ran unsuccessful campaigns last year and are encouraged to run again. They need our support.
· One out of 7 voters in Arizona are a nurse, we have power in numbers.
Kathy Busby JD is the AzNA sponsored lobbyist representing AZ nurses. She presented an informative summary of the legislative make up and some import health bill currently in process of being heard. They include:
Senate has 16 republicans & 14 democrats.
House has 31 republicans & 29 democrats.
HB2620 Health care workers; assault; prevention – this bill increases the penalty when healthcare workers are assaulted and can mean a felony for the perpetrator. It has cleared the health committee and is expected in the house next week, then it will still need to go to the senate. Support is needed for this bill.
HB2633 Nursing shortage; workforce preparation; plan - How can the nurse pipeline be improved? Committee hearings are expected to begin next week, then must pass both legislative branches. Because of timing this bill will most likely stall out to return next year.
SB1377 Civil liability; public health pandemic – applies to COVID-19 related losses. It has passed committees and awaiting legislative review. It too has a strong possibility of stalling out this legislative session.
HB1278 health professionals; preceptorships – will require medical and nurse (advanced practice) preceptor programs. This bill is supported by the AZ Medical and Nursing Boards. It is still in the committee process, and most likely stall out this season.
How can you help?
· Use your voice as a respected professional nurse.
· Get to know your legislative representatives.
· Weigh-in and support bills important to your profession.
Thanks to AzPANA for providing the funding for this program.
Submitted Feb 15, 2021
By Carolyn Bennett
AzPANA Governmental Affairs