A bill increasing the penalties against those who assault doctors and nurses has advanced in the Unicameral.
Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop sponsors LB 677 that would crack down on those who attack a health care provider. Lathrop told colleagues Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates health care workers are twice as likely as others to experience violence in the workplace.
“And there are two reasons. One is, as you suggest, they can’t turn people down in the emergency room. They have to take these people in,” Lathrop responded to a question posed during flood debate. “And a lot of these assaults are happening on emergency room physicians, doctors, nurses.”
Some senators expressed sympathy for the situations outlined by Lathrop, but questioned whether the state should designate certain classes of workers for enhanced protection.
Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha opposed the measure, stating she’s concerned about carving out classes of workers for extra protection.
“I think the better public policy approach to dealing with this is to deal with workplace violence and assaults in the workplace,” according to Council.
Despite the reservations, the Unicameral has advanced the bill easily, sending it to the next round of debate.
AUDIO: Unicameral debate on LB 677 [1 hour]