SB 58 Update
SB 58 substitution 4 has unanimously passed the senate labor committee with consent recommendation. Senator Hinkins, our bill sponsor, anticipates our bill could be through the Senate by early next week and on to the House where it will again be heard in committee. Representative Fawson and Senator Hinkins will also request a consent recommendation from that committee (assuming we get passed) to expedite the vote on the House floor. We encourage each of you to continue to reach out to your legislators in both the Senate and the House to support our bill.
SB58 substitution 3 was passed. However, the negotiations of that substitution took us right up to the committee hearing and after the hearing it was discovered that some of the language was likely not what was in our best interest and we had not been given an opportunity to review it thoroughly. So, the bill was recalled and placed in standing committee.
We went through further negotiations to iron out our differences with the language of the bill and finally arrived at what the UNP board and legislative committee feels is acceptable in SB58 substitution 4. We did not get entirely what we had hoped for. There is much concern in the legislature regarding the problem of opiates in our state. As such, the board and legislative committee felt it best to take a leadership role in this area. We agreed to utilization of the Controlled Substance database when prescribing schedule II or III drugs. We also agreed to gather more information with regard to pain clinics. Those who operate an independent pain clinic, treating primarily chronic pain, will continue to need a consultation and referral plan for schedule II and III drugs. The rest of our profession will have full practice authority after 2 years or 2000 hours of licensure. Until that requirement is met, prescriptive authority for schedule II drugs will require a consultation and referral plan. Additionally, we have agreed to follow the Workman's Compensation guidelines when treating an injured worker if a schedule II or III drug is prescribed for chronic pain.
As stated, a compromise had to be reached between all stakeholders. This was felt to be the best route to get us through committee. Our negotiating power was made possible by the support we had built in the legislature in the months leading up to this point in working with our lobbyist. We met with several key legislators and appreciate those of our members who were willing to assist us in meeting with their legislator to build support and educate them about our bill. Additionally, we appreciate all of our members who have reached out to their legislators via phone, email, text, or in person. We also are grateful for the tremendous showing at NP Day at the Legislature. All of these efforts have truly made a big difference. All in all, the legislative committee and the UNP board feels this is a big step forward for our profession in the state.
After committee, one of our lobby members who has served in the legislature and has been involved on the hill for many years remarked that he remembers a time when nurses were possibly the most powerful lobby in the state. I invite each of you to make the commitment to be involved, moving forward, to once again make our profession the powerful voice we can be in this wonderful State.