Nursing compact fast-tracked in Senate; clears House committee | KOB 4
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Nursing compact fast-tracked in Senate; clears House committee

Kai Porter
January 18, 2018 07:07 AM

SANTA FE, N.M. -- A major victory for nurses at the Legislature Wednesday. The Senate passed a bill that allows nurses from out of state to continue working in New Mexico.

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It’s only the second day of the 30-day session, and lawmakers in the Senate fast-tracked a new nurse licensure compact through the committee process and unanimously passed it during a floor vote in the afternoon. About 400 nurses packed into the Senate chambers as lawmakers passed the bill.

Now the compact is off to the House with a deadline for Gov. Susana Martinez to sign it by Friday.

Gloria Doherty, president of the New Mexico Nurses Association, said the compact will allow registered nurses from more than 20 other states to continue working in New Mexico without having to apply for a new license and vice versa.

 "Our patients need the care that they're currently receiving from our nurses," she said. "And without it passing, our care would have been interrupted."

The clock is ticking for Martinez to sign the new compact by the end of Friday when the old compact expires. It's something Doherty said can’t happen.

"We will be in a healthcare crisis without a doubt," she said. "Patients won't be able to get the care they need both in hospitals and outside of hospitals."

Doherty and Some Senate lawmakers raised concerns about the new compact but said they can address those concerns with future legislation.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed the compact. It will now be taken up on the House floor.

"If this isn’t done Friday, we are in a healthcare crisis in our state," said state Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque.

At this point, it looks like the compact is on track to pass before the Friday deadline. The House is expected to take up the bill for a vote Thursday morning.

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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