Legislative Day March 6, 2019
When they say “Leg Day”, they don’t mean a day at the gym!
On March 6, 2019, I attended “Leg Day” with dozens of other members of California ENA. “Leg Day”, as it is called, is the shorthand for Legislative Day at the State Capitol in Sacramento. California ENA does a great job of educating members at Leg Day and walking them through the process of how to advocate for legislative action endorsed by the ENA.
On the morning of our Legislative Day, we (Cal ENA members) received lectures from a legislative aide for Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, who introduced Assembly Bill 329 (AB329). AB 329 calls for equalizing penalties for assaults against healthcare providers, regardless of the location of the assault, inside or outside a hospital. Previous legislation provided lesser fines for assaults that occurred outside the healthcare facility. Ms. Montes coached our group on how to approach and deliver a succinct message on why a bill merits their “yea” or “nay” vote to a legislator or his/her aide.
Our next lecture came from California Hospital Association’s Peggy Wheeler, who explained the current status of Senate Bill 1152. This bill was signed into law and now mandates how hospitals must provide meals, medicines, transportation and weather-appropriate clothing to homeless patients discharged from the hospital. Ms. Wheeler explained that the CHA continues to advocate for changes to this law because the provisions of the law create a financial burden to hospitals, which ultimately create a rise in the overall cost of healthcare for everyone.
Dr. Kevin Jones, of Cal ACEP spoke to the group to educate us on the impact of workplace violence on healthcare costs. Lost days of work, workers compensation, and replacement of nurses when one is injured due to workplace violence costs the nation millions of dollars annually.
After the informative lectures and a hearty lunch, we were divided into groups of 3 or 4, and given an assigned list of legislators to visit in the Capitol. We were provided with printed fliers (called “leave-behinds” by tenured Leg Day attendees) which outlined the legislative priorities of the ENA and contact info for ENA government affairs co-chairs.
My assigned group visited 4 offices. We each took turns talking to the office staff, introducing ourselves and explaining our purpose—to talk about the ENA’s position on SB 329. When the legislative aide for Assemblymember Phillip Chen asked us “is workplace violence really a problem for you?”, we all chimed in with vivid stories of how this occurs daily in our workplaces.
I encourage ENA members who have not ever participated in Leg Day to sign up for 2020’s trip to the State Capitol. It is a great way to learn about how legislation impacts the work we do each day.
Deb Duncan RN BSN CEN CPEN
President , San Diego County Chapter