1. Gonzalez, Rose MPS, RN
  2. Helmlinger, Connie

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Federal Legislative Roundup

Overtime Pay-Proposed Department of Labor regulations that would strip many nurses and other workers of eligibility for overtime pay could go into effect at any time now that an ANA-backed amendment to block the rules has been removed from the Fiscal Year 2004 Labor, Health and Human Services spending bill. The amendment, offered by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), was approved in September and would have blocked the regulations by prohibiting funds for their implementation. However, the White House threatened to veto any spending bill that included the Harkin language, and in late November congressional leaders removed the amendment.


For information, go to and click on "Federal Advocacy."


Election Alert

Nevada, one of the states holding elections for the U.S. Senate's 34 open seats this year, is considered to be a swing state- while its constituency is largely Democratic, close past races indicate that many could vote Republican in 2004. Incumbent Senator Harry Reid (D) is running for his fourth term against real estate agent and former pro-marriage advocate Richard Ziser. Senator Reid, endorsed by the ANA-PAC, has consistently been an advocate for increased funding for RN education, supported mandatory overtime prohibitions, voted for the ANA-backed Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000, and opposed the recent Medicare bill that the ANA spoke out against.


For more information on the 2004 elections, go to


Tips for Political Action

Meeting with a member of Congress or congressional staff is a very effective way to convey a message about a specific legislative issue. Below are some suggestions to consider.


* Plan your visit carefully. Be clear what you want to achieve; determine in advance which member or committee staff you need to meet with to achieve your purpose.


* Make an appointment. Contact the appointment secretary-scheduler, explain your purpose, and state who you represent. It is easier for congressional staff to arrange a meeting if they know what you wish to discuss and your relationship to the area or interests represented by the congressional member.


* Be prompt and patient. It is not uncommon for a member of Congress to be late, or to have a meeting interrupted, due to a crowded schedule. If interruptions do occur, be flexible. When the opportunity presents itself, continue your meeting with congressional staff.


* Be prepared. Bring information and materials supporting your position. Members are required to take positions on many different issues. In some instances, a member may lack important details about the pros and cons of a particular matter. It is therefore helpful to share information and examples that demonstrate clearly the impact or benefits associated with a particular issue or piece of legislation.


* Be political. Wherever possible, demonstrate the connection between what you are requesting and the interests of the member's constituency. Describe for the member how you or your group can be of assistance. Where it is appropriate, ask for a commitment.


* Be responsive. Be prepared to answer questions or provide additional information if the member expresses interest or asks questions. Follow up the meeting with a thank you letter that outlines the different points covered during the meeting and enclose any additional information and materials requested.



To learn more about how you can become politically active, go to and click on "Federal Advocacy."


State News

In Colorado nurse legislators are putting forward a title protection bill for RNs and LPNs. In addition, the Colorado Nurses Association anticipates the introduction of at least one bill on access and availability of health insurance in that state.


In Florida, the Florida Nurses Association was successful in getting a bill filed in both the state House and Senate that requires hospitals to have a staffing plan with a committee whose membership is at least one-third RNs to design, implement, and monitor the plan. The bill is based on the ANA's Principles of Nurse Staffing.


The Colorado title protection bill and the Florida staffing plan bill resulted from the ANA's Nationwide State Legislative Agenda.


For other state news, go to and click on "State Government Relations."