A judge warned California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to be careful not to disobey court orders in his battle to ease the state's minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, but the judge canceled a pending contempt hearing.
Superior Court Judge Judy Hersher in Sacramento said that while Schwarzenegger and the state's top two health officials violated court orders by reissuing an emergency regulation to loosen the staffing requirements, they did not do so willfully. "Further violations ... will not be viewed in the same light," Hersher wrote.
The state issued the emergency regulation a third time after Hersher ruled in June that the regulation was illegal. A spokeswoman said the administration was attempting to protect its right to appeal. The state first issued the emergency regulation in November 2004 and readopted the regulation in March when it expired. In each case, the California Nurses Association sued.