Massachusetts Nurses to Patients Ratio Initiative (2014)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
The Massachusetts Nurses to Patients Ratio Initiative, also known as the Patient Safety Act, will not appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. The measure would have limited how many patients can be assigned to a registered nurse in hospitals or certain other health-care facilities, excluding rehabilitation or long-term care facilities.
The Committee to Ensure Safe Patient Care led the campaign in support of the initiative.
Donna Key-Williams, a registered nurse and the President of the MNA, made the following claims and arguments:
- Key-Williams noted that "Most people do not realize that there is no law and there are no standards in existence for the number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse at one time."
- She said, “That is why we are here today: to take the next step in getting registered voters to say ‘yes’ to safe maximum patient limits so that when their loved ones push that call button, a nurse is there.”
Path to the ballot
Supporters first had to submit the initiative, signed by ten voters, to the Massachusetts Attorney General by August 7, 2013. The attorney general then had to determine whether the measure met the legal requirements for circulation, which it did.
In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 68,911 valid signatures by November 20, 2013 and submit them to local registrars for certification. Then, these certified petitions were successfully filed with the secretary of state on the December 4, 2013 deadline, after which the secretary of state determined enough valid signatures had been collected.
The Massachusetts General Court had until May 7, 2014 to either accept or reject the measure or take no action. No action was taken, therefore, the original supporters of the measure must collect an additional 11,485 signatures and submit them to local registrars for certification by June 18, 2014. These signatures must then be filed with the secretary of state no later than July 2, 2014.
On June 18, 2014, the Massachusetts Nurses Association submitted approximately 25,000 signatures to local registrars.
- Massachusetts 2014 ballot measures
- 2014 ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in Massachusetts
- Office of the Attorney General, "The Patient Safety Act," accessed December 6, 2013
- WWLP, "Nurses’ union will drop petitions for the November ballot," June 30, 2014
- Just Ask website, accessed March 14, 2014
- South Coast Today, "Bottle bill expansion, limits to gas-tax on track for 2014 ballot," December 4, 2013
- Massachusetts Nurses Association website, accessed March 14, 2014
- Massachusetts Nurses Association, "Patient Advocates Hold Press Conference Outside State House, then Deliver 200,000 Signatures in Support of Two Healthcare Ballot Initiatives to the Secretary of State’s Office via Hospital Gurney," December 4, 2013
- State Ballot Question Petitions, "CALENDAR FOR AN INITIATIVE PETITION FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT," accessed December 3, 2013
- Weymouth News, "State House News -- Initiative petition campaigns keep on pace for 2014 ballot," December 4, 2013
- Massachusetts Secretary of State, "State Ballot Question Petitions," accessed May 13, 2014
- Boston Business Journal, "Mass. Nurses Association: Fight for hospital reform is officially under way," June 17, 2014
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