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Battle brews over hospital nurse staffing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A union for Minnesota nurses wants a state law requiring hospitals to abide by staffing minimums.

The Minnesota Nurses Association outlined a proposal Wednesday that seeks to enact the standards by 2014. The nurses union has long been making a case for mandatory staffing ratios based on the number of patients and type of unit. California is the only state with a similar law.

Their proposal would establish a system of record keeping for hospitals and potential punishments for those that fall short of the standards.

Hospitals have been building a resistance effort. The Minnesota Hospital Association argues that medical staffing decisions are best dealt with by professionals not lawmakers. The bill could also expose a divide between nurses who are unionized and those who are not.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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