E.D.’s Notes, The
Decker, Joseph F II
Our 2005 Legislative Day on February 17th here in Montgomery was very successful. Attendance was well over 100, and we had a number of very good speakers/presenters. Thanks to all who attended, and a special thanks to the many students who participated; we at ASNA believe that it’s very important for our next generation of nurses to get involved in political action and the governmental process. Sort of like the old cliché: “Vote early and often!” In all seriousness, nurses need to take the lead in shaping health care policy and the workplace as we move forward. With over 70,000 RNs, LPNs and student nurses in our state, nurses can truly be a powerful force for the future. Learning how the process works here in Alabama and actually seeing the facilities of our state government is a perfect starting point.
A quick reminder about our state Convention, set for 29 September-1 October at the Riverview Plaza in Mobile, AL. This is shaping up to be a terrific event, with lots of very good speakers, multiple entertainment options, a superb location, and excellent networking opportunities. The schedule of events, registration information and forms are in this issue, along with additional facts about the Mobile area. Nancy Worley, our Alabama secretary of State, has graciously agreed to be our keynote speaker. As many of you know, she provides great insight into the politics of our state, and is most entertaining as well. By the way, we are anticipating a strong presence from the AANS, who will join us this year. We look forward to seeing you all in Mobile.
Many of you are on our First of the Week (FOW) email list. This email posting is used to disseminate news and articles of possible interest to our members and supporters. Although not currently a list-serve instrument, there has been a good bit of discussion about going to a full list-serve function. Your thoughts and comments on this idea would be appreciated. Also, any of you that would like to be included can contact us by email or phone, and we will be happy to add you to the list. As a reminder, if you hit the “Reply” tab, any comments that you send will be received by everyone on the list unless you use the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) selection. So if you intend the answer to go to ASNA only, or to some individual, you must remember to address accordingly. If you’re not sure about this, just call April Bishop at the ASNA office and she will be happy to help you. Finally, please be careful in your comments posted; we should all make every effort not to offend others with our remarks.
The comments about our FOW list in the preceding paragraph are a nice segue into a recent posting on that list (of a policy statement originating from ANA) regarding the much-publicized Florida legal case involving Terry Schiavo. This was the young lady with severe brain damage, bed-ridden for some 14 years, who died following removal of her feeding tube. We received numerous comments on that situation via email. In fact, the interest level was very high-far more than we have ever gotten from a FOW posting. Understandably, a number of the comments were emotional and emphatic. We think the discussion generated is a good thing. It certainly caused many of us to think about serious issues involving life/death, advance directives, living wills, organ donor programs, ethical considerations for healthcare workers, etc. As a result of this discussion, we plan to have opportunities at Convention in Mobile this year to discuss the issues involved. In addition, our attorney, Don Eddins, will have specific information about Advance Directives/Living Wills for the state of Alabama.
In the Alabama Legislature, our Workplace Violence bill (HB 430/SB 155) passed the full House, and was on the calendar for a vote by the full Senate. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ted Little of Auburn and Rep. Barbara Boyd of Anniston. May 16th, the last day of the session, was our final opportunity for passage. The Senate, continuing filibuster efforts on several issues (HB 75-disclosure of funding sources for nonprofits; both the Education and General Fund Budgets, and a bond fund allocation for the State Docks in Mobile) failed to act and adjourned without passing our bill. While we are disappointed, we will persevere and try again next year. HB 152, a bill sponsored by Rep. McDaniels of Albertville that further restricts the sale of common cold medications containing psuedoephedrine-a precursor to manufacture of the illegal drug methamphetamine, did survive. ASNA strongly supported this bill and we are pleased that it did pass on the last day. Finally, the Alabama Medicaid funding issue we discussed in the last issue of The Alabama Nurse remains unresolved, as the House and Senate have not passed the 2006 General Fund Budget. As of this writing, it appears that the legislature will find a short term solution for 2006, using various sources and some “one-time” funding. However, the 2007 budget picture will only be more precarious, and more expensive.
And last, but not least,, please continue to work the membership issue very hard. The ability of ASNA to influence legislation for our nurses and to successfully advocate for Alabama nurses in the workplace is directly related to the strength of our numbers. Help us help all of the nurses in our state by becoming a member of ASNA. Note the new membership options now available: State-only member, and an affiliate opportunity for LPNs in Alabama. Details are on the membership applications in this issue of The Alabama Nurse. See you in Mobile in September!
by Joseph F. Decker, II, Executive Director
Copyright Alabama State Nurses’ Association Jun-Aug 2005
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