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Assembly approves advanced practice registered nurse bill

By: - January 26, 2024 4:24 am

“It is a beacon of hope for APRNs across Wisconsin,” Rep. Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser). (Screenshot via WisEye)

Assembly lawmakers concurred in a bill in a voice vote that would allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to practice independently, but without an amendment proposed by Democrats on Thursday that the author said was needed to prevent a veto.

“[SB 145] is more than just a piece of legislation. It is a beacon of hope for APRNs across Wisconsin. This bill envisions a future where APRNs can fully utilize their training and skills, free from unnecessary and costly restrictions,” said co-author Rep. Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser). “It stands as a testament to our trust and the abilities of these dedicated professionals, who have undergone extensive training, making them among the most skilled in the nation.”

Under the bill, nurses with advanced credentials would be allowed to obtain a license that allows them to work independently from medical doctors, rather than have an official collaboration agreement as is currently required in Wisconsin. The bill is aimed at helping address severe health care provider shortages, especially in rural areas. 

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a similar bill last legislative session, a fate that Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) predicted would happen again this year. Subeck proposed an amendment that was rejected 64-35 along party lines. 

“Today, what we have before us is a bill that is going to get vetoed and we all know it,” Subeck said. “He has said, without these safeguards in place, he will veto it again.” 

The amendment would have added some additional regulations to the bill, including the amount of hours of experience an APRN needs before practicing independently. It also included a provision reserving titles such as “doctor” for physicians. Subeck argued the amendment was necessary for the bill to get the signature of Gov. Tony Evers. 

“This is a bill that can help us by ensuring that nurses can practice to the highest of their ability. It would bring us in line with about half of the other states that have similar licensing,” Subeck said after the amendment was discarded. She urged lawmakers to reconsider.

Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers) said that Evers needed to compromise on the bill and that changes had already been made between the previous version of the bill and the version passed by the Legislature. 

“Compromising is meeting somewhere in the middle, and I know we didn’t amend it over here in the Assembly, but the Senate did, and we’re concurring with that change,” Sortwell said. “If [Evers] wants to continue to hold a hard line, rather than compromise… he certainly has that authority to do so, but it’ll become clear to the nurses of Wisconsin that once again, the governor is not standing with them.”

The bill will now head to Evers.

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Baylor Spears
Baylor Spears

Baylor Spears is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner. She’s previously written for the Minnesota Reformer and Washingtonian Magazine. A Tennessee-native, she graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University in June 2022.

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