Bill to guarantee breaks for nurses passes without 8-hour shift limit
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill to guarantee Washington nurses get uninterrupted meal and rest breaks has now passed the state legislature.
The Nurses Shifts & Breaks Bill (1155) has been controversial in the past few weeks. State Senator Maureen Walsh was discussing this bill when she suggested nurses play cards on the job. Her comment sparked outrage among nurses and made national headlines.
Many nurses also turned against the bill when an amendment was added that would limit them to eight hour shifts.
Wednesday, lawmakers agreed to get rid of that amendment before voting on and passing the bill.
If it is signed by Governor Inslee, the new law would require guarenteed breaks for all nurses across the entire state. That’s something nurses have been fighting for for years and something a majority of state lawmakers, including Spokane Representative Marcus Riccelli, were happy to support.
“Of all the professions that we have, we need to make sure that our frontline care workers are getting adequate meal and rest breaks so that they can make sure that our loved ones are taken care of,” said Rep. Riccelli. “That’s what this bill’s about, it really about making sure that they are able to perform at the best of their ability.”
The bill will go to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk today.
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