This summer, I received a letter from the Department of Health, nursing licensure, saying that as of July 18, 2018, Rhode Island is no longer a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). We are now a non-compact state. This pertains to all nursing practice.
Before this fiasco, if nurses had Rhode Island licenses, they could apply for another state license through reciprocity and increase their ability to make a living. This has far-reaching impact on nurses who already work in other states with reciprocal license. Now, to get a license in another state, a nurse must take the state board again.
Our esteemed General Assembly did not renew the NLC, and nurses will now be restricted in their ability to work in other states with reciprocity. How did this happen? Although there was legislation (H7228) for RI to join the enhanced NLC, it was not successful and did not pass during the legislative session. Democrat Representative John “Jay” Edwards, IV, of Tiverton is the General Assembly Majority Whip. His job is to “whip up” enough votes to pass legislation. Epic fail! and a direct attack on nurses’ ability to make a living.
I guess we have a double trouble in Tiverton. We have Rep. Jay Edwards who supported truck tolls, bloated state budgets, and now the failure to pass the NLC. His son, Town Councilor John Edwards, V, supported the FEMA-SAFER Grant in April 2017. This grant for the fire department in three years’ time would cost the taxpayer $2.6 million. It was not a fully funded grant; the taxpayer had to make up the rest for increased staff, and we were already fully staffed.
The labor lawyer for the town advised against going forward with the grant. Edwards insisted that it saved the town money, but the lawyer said it did not, that it would cost the town dearly. Against his advice, council members Edwards, Joan Chabot, Randy Lebeau, and Joe Perry voted to allow the chief to apply for the grant, even though it had fatal errors in the application.
These council members also supported Budget #1 in Tiverton’s financial town referendum (FTR), which increased taxes compared with the other option. He submitted a charter proposal to eliminate the Budget Committee and the FTR, giving seven members of the town council total control of the town budget and casino gaming revenue, and he would like an ordinance to control the casino gaming revenue.
At both the town level and the state level, Tiverton’s Edwards clan don’t seem to represent our interests as a first priority.