California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger acted illegally in attempting to circumvent a 1999 law establishing minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios for hospital units, Superior Court Judge Judy Hersher in Sacramento said. Hersher's 33-page final decision that Schwarzenegger overstepped his authority with emergency regulations corresponded with her preliminary ruling in March. The California Nurses Association challenged the emergency regulations, which delayed tightening the required ratio, as unnecessary and a violation of separation of powers. A spokeswoman for the California Health and Human Services Agency said the administration would appeal Hersher's decision. The spokeswoman, Sabrina Lockhart, said the staffing law left the specific required ratios up to the state to determine. In setting aside the emergency regulations, Hersher said the state "failed to follow the procedures established by law in determining that the regulations were necessary for the immediate preservation of public health and safety." -- by Mark Taylor
Judge strikes Calif. regulations relaxing staffing law
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