Our legislation, Assembly Bill 1102, was moved out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee the morning of Tuesday, April 25 with a vote of 10 for and none against — full bipartisan support! Thank you to our bill sponsor, Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez for his leadership, and to all the nurses and others who called members of the Judiciary Committee to encourage their support.
Nurses currently have no direct way to penalize a hospital for cutting corners with staffing. If AB 1102 is passed, higher fines will make it less likely that hospital management will consider these fines “the cost of doing business.”
SEIU 121RN President Gayle Batiste testified at the hearing, saying:
“Since the current fines are minimal and have not been updated in 20 years, hospitals have been willing to roll the dice and have disciplined nurses who have objected to violations of the law. This is in direct violation of the whistleblower protections afforded to nurses.
“AB 1102 would create a greater disincentive to such retaliation by increasing the fines for a willful violation of these provisions from a current ceiling of $20,000 to up to $75,000,” Batiste continued.
AB 1102 will force hospitals to take a closer look at whether staffing correctly or paying higher fines is more cost-effective. Middle managers will no longer consider short-staffing “part of the job” when a personal misdemeanor charge against them is on the line.