January 15, 2020

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Cowles’ Statement on Assembly’s Veto Override Attempt 

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after the State Assembly attempted to override Governor Tony Evers’s Veto of 2019 Assembly Bill 76, relating to training hours for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA): 

“Certified Nursing Assistants, or Nurse Aides, provide indispensable services to our disabled and elderly residents living in Wisconsin communities. Despite their value in the medical community and elder care, employers are finding it more and more difficult to recruit these workers for long-term care facilities, like nursing homes, for a variety of reasons. Assembly Bill 76 would help to address the shortage crisis of CNAs here in Wisconsin.

“While the original bipartisan Assembly vote (66-31) to send this bill to the Senate, and ultimately to Governor Evers’s desk, would have been enough to override a veto, this effort was thwarted by politics and failed along party lines. We have many unfilled caregiver positions in long-term care facilities here in Wisconsin. As a result, some nursing homes are forced to turn away residents due to the lack of staffing necessary to provide the care for vulnerable populations.

“Addressing the workforce shortage of CNAs requires a multi-faceted approach including competitive pay and reasonable training requirements. In the 2019-2021 State Budget that I supported, we provided more funding to increase pay for CNAs; but that alone will not address this workforce crisis. Today, Democratic members of the Assembly stopped the second part of this solution from moving ahead.

“While I’m disappointed with this result, I hope that future actions to alleviate the health care workforce shortage could maintain their bipartisan support through the legislative process.”