Legislative Committee Considers Harm to Health Care Worker Bill

On Wednesday, February 9, the State Assembly’s Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 960, legislation which creates a penalty enhancer for battery to health care providers or workers who work in a health care setting.

The bill makes it a Class H felony to intentionally commit battery against a person who is a health care provider, a staff member of a health care facility, or a family member of a health care provider or staff member, or to threaten such a person, if the battery or threat is in response to an action taken by the health care provider in his or her official capacity, or in response to something that happened at the health care facility.

Committee chairman Rep. John Spiros indicated during the hearing that a vote on the bill could occur next Wednesday, February 16.

Similar legislation was passed and signed into law last session, but was limited to victims who are a licensed registered nurse (RN), a licensed practical nurse (LPN), or an individual working under the supervision of an RN or LPN. AB 960 expands on that bill to include additional health care workers.

Included in the definition of qualifying health care facilities covered under the bill are nursing homes, AFHs, RCACs, and CBRFs.

WHCA/WiCAL has registered in favor of the bill and signed on to a letter in support which includes a coalition of health care organizations.

Included in the letter of support:

“The stress, pressure, and violence the health care profession has endured over the past two years
is unprecedented and has contributed to higher attrition rates among nurses and hospital staff
when we can least afford to lose them,” said Majority Leader LeMahieu, Speaker Vos, Senator
Wanggaard and Representative Magnafici as they circulated this legislation. We strongly agree
regarding the need to protect health care providers and staff from threats and acts of violence.