Grassroots Spotlight: Grassroots Efforts Help Buoy eNLC Passage

From testifying to meetings to emails, eNLC now awaits Governor’s signature

November 03, 2017

Buoyed by grassroots advocacy from hundreds of individuals, the state Legislature overwhelmingly approved the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) legislation. The legislation now goes to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. (See full article.) 

Throughout the legislative process, grassroots advocacy was important to help secure quick passage of the eNLC legislation by year’s end. Doing so was necessary for a seamless transition to occur from the current nursing compact to the new compact.

An initial push for support came when over 800 emails were sent by WHA’s HEAT grassroots network to legislators. Those emails urged legislators to officially “cosponsor” this eNLC legislation.

The emails plus the work of lead authors—Rep. VanderMeer, Sen. Marklein, Sen. Cowles, Sen. Olsen, Rep. Tranel, and Rep. Ripp—along with WHA’s lobbying team and partners, resulted in 95 legislative cosponsors. That’s 72 percent of the entire Legislature officially signing on to the bill—likely, the most cosponsors WHA has seen on a WHA-backed bill!

A key advocate on this legislation was from within the state Legislature—Rep. Nancy VanderMeer, one of the lead authors of the legislation. Her efforts in support of the bill included testifying at hearings, urging the support of her colleagues, working with WHA and others, and meeting with her local hospitals about this issue.

In fact, Rep. VanderMeer visited Tomah Memorial Hospital (TMH) in October to share information on the eNLC legislation with local hospital leaders. During her visit, she said the legislation was important in order to reduce the regulatory burden on nurses looking to practice in the state and that she thought the bill should pass both the Assembly and Senate by the end of the year.

“Due to the wide bipartisan support in both houses, I think we will see a successful outcome,” said Rep. VanderMeer during her visit to TMH.

She was right! The legislation is awaiting Gov. Walker’s signature.

Besides benefiting nurses, VanderMeer told TMH leaders the legislation would be good for residents across the state.

“I think the winners are the patients across the state of Wisconsin because any time we can bring additional access to great health care, that’s who benefits, and we have to continue working toward that always.”

The eNLC effort included strong collaborations between WHA and the Wisconsin Board of Nursing, nursing organizations and impacted hospitals who all rallied together to propel this bill through the legislative process, including testifying together at multiple public hearings. 

Textbook grassroots advocacy, coalition-building and lobbying on a great public policy issue for the nursing workforce in Wisconsin.

Thank you to everyone who played a role in this legislative success!

This story originally appeared in the November 03, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter