SACRAMENTO – Gov. Gray Davis has rejected bills that would have required surprise hospital inspections and mandated state agencies to list their reports on the Internet.
Although the bills were among dozens vetoed earlier this week, Davis’ office delayed announcing the actions until Friday. Davis is still facing upward of 900 bills to sign, veto or let become law without his signature.
The delay in announcing the governor’s decisions was prompted in part by the large number of bills, his spokesman said.
“We’re getting a flood of bills,” said Roger Salazar. “It’s a huge task to get through so many bills. It’s time consuming and taxing”
Jim Knox of California Common Cause said the delay in announcing Davis’ actions was frustrating but not unexpected with the large number of bills being sent to him.
“Our main concern is the legislative process that allows hundreds of bills to be heard the last night of the session without hearings. That sort of process invites shenanigans,” Knox said.
The list of 42 vetoes provided Friday doesn’t include a bill by Assemblywoman Helen Thomson, D-Davis, which was vetoed Tuesday, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Thomson’s bill would have required the state Department of Health Services to make unannounced inspections at hospitals.
In a veto letter filed with the Secretary of State’s office, Davis said Thomson’s bill “may have merit,” but he objected to a provision requiring the Department of Health Services to make federal certification documents available to the public.
Thomson wasn’t available for comment.
Health care workers supported the bill, saying current hospital inspections are scheduled months in advance, giving administrators plenty of time to conceal violations.
“This is the key to enforcing safe patient care standards,” said Maura Kealey of the Service Employees International Union, which represents nurses and other health care workers. “Without it, we simply don’t know whether violations are being caught and, once caught, if they are being corrected.”
She said the union was surprised by the governor’s rejection.
“This administration has a good record of protecting nursing home residents,” she said.
Davis also vetoed a bill by Assemblyman Lou Papan, D-Millbrae, which would have required state agencies to list any reports they have done on the Internet.
Davis said the legislation was too confusing to implement and didn’t spell out “how the public is to access the reports.”