Whitmer veto bills to add multi-state licensure for nurses and psychologists

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed two bills that would have allowed Michigan to join other states in licensing deals for nurses and psychologists.

In her veto letter to lawmakers, the governor said both bills would violate sections of the Michigan Constitution by “waiving our prerogative as a state to set the standard of care required of practicing nurses and psychologists. in our state “.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

“While I appreciate interstate cooperation, especially on matters of a particularly interstate nature, these agreements require Michigan to cede its sovereign interest in regulating the health professions to an outside body,” Whitmer wrote.

Legislation to adhere to an Interstate Nursing Licensing Agreement, HB 4042 sponsored by Representative Mary Whiteford, Township of R-Casco, would remove “the state’s authority to regulate the nursing profession”, according to a statement released today by the governor’s office announcing the signing. of 19 bills and a veto for 13 others.

Meanwhile, SB 758, sponsored by Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, would have allowed an independent commission to establish rules “which would have the effect of a law in Michigan,” according to the Whitmer statement. .

Supporters of the legislation saw it as a way to increase access to mental health care in Michigan.

The State House passed SB 758 on Dec. 17 with an 89-16 vote, and it easily cleared the Senate the next day with a unanimous 37-0 vote. The bill would have brought Michigan into the intergovernmental psychology pact that already includes 15 states, allowing psychologists to treat patients in other states through telehealth without going through the licensing process in each state. .

Likewise, HB 4042 would have allowed Michigan nurses to have multi-state licenses.

Whitmer has also vetoed bills to put a 28-day limit on emergency orders to control a pandemic, unless they are approved by both houses of the state legislature, and to repeal the governor’s emergency powers.

The 28-day limit for emergency pandemic orders “would unwisely undermine the ability of the Department of Health and Human Services to stop the spread of this pandemic, endangering the lives of countless Michiganders,” wrote Whitmer in his veto letter to lawmakers.

“Unfortunately, outbreaks are not limited to 28 days. We should not limit our ability to respond to them in this way, ”she wrote.

Whitmer also vetoed an SB 1185 that would have provided liability protection to protect healthcare workers from lawsuits from a patient claiming to be injured while receiving care related to COVID-19. Whitmer said earlier executive order and legislative action earlier this year already offered similar protections.

“When a COVID-19 patient receives substandard care, they should not be deprived of their day in court,” she wrote in a veto letter to lawmakers on SB 1185, sponsored by the senator Curtis VanderWall, R-Ludington.

In a statement, VanderWall said the governor “sided with trial lawyers eager to prosecute.”

“The stress and fatigue facing our health heroes on the front lines of this fight is unimaginable. The last thing they should worry about is frivolous lawsuits, but that’s exactly what Governor Whitmer did with that veto. No one should take her seriously any longer when she claims that she supports them, “he said in a statement.

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