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Poker, anyone? Washington state lawmaker who belittled nurses gets 1,700 decks of playing cards in mail  3 Months ago

Source:   USA Today  

A Washington state lawmaker has received about 1,700 decks of playing cards in the mail as of Wednesday after commenting that nurses in rural hospitals "probably play cards" for much of their day. 

Republican Sen. Maureen Walsh said she plans to donate the cards to nursing homes and veterans' centers. 

“I like poker as much as anyone, but I think I’m pretty well stocked up right now,” Walsh said in a statement released Wednesday.

Although Walsh has apologized for her comments during a debate on a bill requiring uninterrupted rest and meal breaks for nurses, she said the remarks were taken out of context by supporters of the bill.

“Frankly, I am very embarrassed by the comments, but I am more embarrassed by the fact that this whole issue has been sort of gamed politically, and I am really sorry for that,” she said on the Senate floor Tuesday. 

The state House and Senate on Wednesday passed a final version of the bill without an amendment supported by Walsh. The bill would apply to all hospitals in Washington, including hospitals with less than 25 beds that Walsh wanted to exempt from the mandatory uninterrupted breaks. 

Her office has received more than 35,000 phone calls and 10,000 emails since social media posts of her comments circulated last week, according to a statement.

About 760,000 people signed a petition calling on the Walla Walla County lawmaker to shadow a nurse, and Walsh has agreed.

Walsh said she opposed the bill because she believes hospital staff and administrators should determine their break rules internally. 

“Our critical access hospitals serve an important role in smaller communities across the state," she said in a statement released Wednesday. "Many already are operating in the red, and this could put them under.”

The bill now heads to the governor's desk. 


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