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Payroll deception with a new face…

CNA blog by Kathryn Donahue, RN, 10/17/12

Again California "Special Interests" have a proposition on our November ballot.  It is called the "Special Exemptions Act", better known as Proposition 32.  And it gets a little confusing determining just who are those who will benefit from these "special exemptions".  Perhaps this nurse's take on exactly what will this Proposition do for my patients might shed some light on the real agenda this proposition supports.

It is NOT what it seems....Proposition 32, the Special Exemptions Act, touted as political campaign reform.  Proposition 32 claims to be about stopping special interest money in politics, but it is really an attempt to deceive voters into passing a law that would change the rules to benefit wealthy corporate interests....at the expense of middle-class workers and unions.  

What will this legislation do....it will prohibit unions and corporations from using donations from dues money through payroll deductions to support political campaigns or candidates.  However, this would have little impact on corporations, which seldom use payroll deductions for political spending, but would be devastating for unions, for this is the only way unions receive their income....and thereby a voice in Sacramento to speak for the common good.

Why do I care....I am a registered nurse of 35 years.  I work in an Intensive Care Unit, and witness daily the devastation our political system has brought to the average working family and individual.  This includes loss of jobs, and thereby loss of health care insurance and benefits.

 I see patients that did not seek healthcare because they could not afford the copays and deductibles required, then waited until it was too late in seeking the medical assistance they needed.  Nurses work tirelessly for their patients, both in the hospital, and the political arena.  

In 2004 the California Nurse to Patient Ratio Law went into effect, and nurses and their patients have seen improved outcomes for patients, and higher job satisfaction for nurses.  This legislation was fought for and won by the dues I pay as a nurse to my professional association.  Without the ability to speak in Sacramento for legislation that benefits our patients, our communities’ health is at the mercy of profit driven healthcare corporations, and insurance companies, whose only concern is the productivity/profit driven bottom line.  

The “Special Exemptions” in this proposition are for “Corporations”....for Proposition 32 does nothing to stop corporations from spending billions in profits to influence elections by contributing to secretive SuperPACs, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate special interests and billionaire businessmen.

It does not ban contributions from “limited liability companies” (LLCs), or from limited partnership or real estate trusts, which represent some of California’s biggest political donors.  And it does not ban corporate contributions to independent expenditure campaigns.  

People that work in the public interest, nurses, teachers, police, firefighters will lose their voice in Sacramento if this Proposition is not defeated.  The scales of power will be tipped in favor of corporations, and will support “Citizens United”, the Supreme Court decision which states corporations have the rights of “personhood”, the same rights as you and me.  

Do not allow the voice of the middle class, and the unions that support the voice of middle class workers to be silenced.  There is already a law that states Union members can opt out of having dues money spent for political contributions.  The real intent of Proposition 32 is to keep unions, and the workers they represent, out of the political arena.  My union, the California Nurses Association, also represents every patient with whom I have ever had the privilege to assist.

 First and foremost...I am a patient advocate.  Please vote NO on 32.

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Original Article

Kathryn Donahue has been a Registered Nurse for 35 years, the last 25 years in ICU. She is a board member of the California Nurses Association.

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