Governor Vetoes Safe Staffing Bill

October 2012

Leading Nurses Union Expresses Disappointment on Governor’s Veto of SB 1246

UNAC/UHCP Bill Would Have Added Enforcement Measures to State’s Landmark Nursing Staff Ratios

SACRAMENTO – Expressing disappointment in Governor Brown’s veto of SB 1246 by State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez – a bill designed to strengthen California’s first-in-the-nation nurse-to-patient ratio with a critical enforcement component – the leading nurses union who sponsored the bill said today they are undeterred and will keep fighting to close the enforcement gap in California’s landmark nurse-to- patient ratio. Several independent studies have shown how these ratios improve care and save lives.

“While we are disappointed in the Governor’s action late last night, we are undeterred in the fight to improve patient care,” said Barbara Blake, RN, Secretary/Treasurer of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) who was the primary sponsor of SB 1246. “Because of SB1246, staffing ratios are once again in the spotlight, and we have now forced the Governor and his Administration to address the enforcement gap in staffing ratios."

SB 1246, the UNAC/UHCP-sponsored legislation, would have strengthened the existing nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in California Hospitals by requiring the Department of Public Health (DPH) to check for compliance during regular, periodic inspections and by putting into effect existing statutory fine authority for DPH by removing the requirement that DPH issue regulations.

In his veto message, the Governor’s described how DPH was on track to propose new regulations on administrative penalties on a broad range of violations by next year.

“We all know safe staffing saves lives and the Governor has recognized this in his veto message where he promises new penalties to enforce staffing ratios and patient classification systems. We will take the Governor at his word, and we will hold him accountable,” said Ken Deitz, RN, President of UNAC/UHCP.


United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals is the largest nurses’ union in Southern California representing more than 22,000 Registered Nurses and other health care professionals, including Optometrists; Pharmacists; Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists; Midwives; Social Workers; Clinical Lab Scientists; Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFLCIO. For more information on UNAC/UHCP, visit unacuhcp.org.