Minn. nurse staffing debate exposes partisan rift

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are falling into partisan camps as they deliberate over a bill seeking new requirements on the number of nurses working shifts in hospitals.

A Democratic-led House committee voted Thursday to move the nurse staffing bill ahead on a 9-6 party-line vote.

The vote came after charged testimony from unionized nurses who say standards are needed to ensure patient safety and hospital industry professionals who cast it as government intrusion in medical decision-making.

The plan would establish a system of record keeping for hospitals and potential punishments for those that fall short of the standards. Staffing levels would have to be posted in waiting areas for staff, patients and the public. Annual reports from hospitals would include details on the hours-per-patient that nurses work.

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