California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has dropped his attempts to undermine legislation requiring a five-to-one patient/nurse ratio in California hospitals. The decision came just days after all four of his ballot initiatives were rejected in a special election.
Schwarzenegger suspended portions of the ratio law to benefit hospital chains last November, and was met with strong resistance from the California Nurses Association, led by Rose Ann DeMoro. The nurses filed a lawsuit against the measure in December, and took the battle from the courtroom to the streets, protesting at events around the state and country and gradually attracting teachers and law enforcement officers to protest the Governor’s cuts to education and pension programs as well. In March, the nurses won a victory in court, which the Governor then appealed.
Many called Schwarzenegger’s withdrawal a political move, as his approval ratings have plummeted, and Reuters reports that he pledged on Thursday to work with Democratic lawmakers and unions. DeMoro responded as well, telling the Washington Post “He has to run for reelection – he knows that other people, who will be opposed to him, support the nurses.”