Assembly poised to attempt veto override on nursing bill

MADISON — Assembly Republicans were set Wednesday to try to override Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' veto of a bill that would make it easier to become a nurse's aide in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin law currently requires nurses' aides to receive at least 120 hours of training. Federal regulations require at least 75 hours. The Republican-authored bill would have prohibited state health officials from requiring more than 75 hours, saving aides' 45 hours worth of training. The GOP tried to sell the proposal as a way of alleviating a shortage of caregivers in the state.

The Assembly passed the bill 66-31 in May. The Senate approved it on a voice vote in November. Evers vetoed the bill that same month, saying he objects to reduced training for caregivers and there are better ways to address the shortage of nurses' aides.

The Legislature hasn't successfully overridden a gubernatorial veto since 1985 and it didn't look like Republicans will succeed this time.

An override requires a two-thirds majority vote in each house. That translates to 66 votes in the Assembly and 22 in the Senate.

Republicans currently hold a 63-36 advantage in the Assembly, leaving them three votes short of two-thirds. But there were 66 votes for the bill in May. Republican leaders have been pressing Democratic Reps. Steve Doyle, Don Vruwink and Beth Meyers, who all voted for the bill, to break with Evers and join them on the override or risk being labeled as flip-floppers.

Aides for all three lawmakers didn't immediately return email messages inquiring about their positions on the override.