New York State lawmakers just ended their legislative session. And for the second year in a row, State Senate Health chair Kemp Hannon, the Republican/IDC Senate leadership, and a few Assembly members blocked the passage of the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act.
That's not acceptable. This year, thanks to our work, a majority of sitting lawmakers in both the State Senate and Assembly signed on to support safe staffing – that’s more support than ever. Senator Hannon and a few other lawmakers had the opportunity to pass safe staffing – and save lives. Instead, they abused their power to block it.
Staffing is at crisis levels in too many New York hospitals. Med-surg nurses are being assigned eight or more patients. ER nurses are taking on 15 patients – or more! Hospitals are leaving patients waiting in hallways for hours on end. Peer-reviewed research shows that unsafe staffing levels lead to worse patient outcomes and higher patient deaths.
New York lawmakers may be going on vacation. We're not. This summer, teams of nurses, community leaders, and patients will fan out across the state to meet with lawmakers, thank those who supported safe staffing, work to convince those who are still on the fence, and elect legislators who will support safe staffing. We have to – our patients are at risk.
Every member of the State Assembly and Senate is up for re-election this fall. We are launching a major campaign to educate every NYSNA member about where our lawmakers stand on safe staffing – who worked hard to pass it, who sat on their hands, and who blocked it.
NYSNA's Legislative District Coordinators are nurses who help lead our campaign at the grassroots level – organizing visits to lawmakers, community outreach, and our educational work in elections.