Legislature OKs bill to guarantee rest breaks for nurses

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FILE – A hospital worker.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Legislature has given final approval to a measure that guarantees that nurses and other hospital staff will get regular rest and meal breaks.

A negotiated compromise between the House and Senate was voted on Wednesday and now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, the Spokesman Review reports .

The issue received national attention in the past week when Republican Sen. Maureen Walsh of Walla Walla suggested nurses in small hospitals with relatively few patients don’t need mandated breaks because their schedules are such that they probably spend part of their shift playing cards.

Nurses responded with tens of thousands of emails and 1,700 decks of playing cards. Walsh apologized, saying she was tired and misspoke, but said she was still opposed to the bill.

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