AARP is formally urging Governor McCrory to use his veto stamp on House Bill 405, noting the so-called “Ag Gag” legislation prevents abuses from being reported in healthcare facilities and nursing homes.
Here’s more from the group’s press release:
AARP is calling on Governor McCrory to veto House Bill 405 – The Property Protection Act also known as the Ag-Gag Bill. Originally intended to address the concerns of the agriculture and poultry industries, House Bill 405 now casts too wide of a net and applies to any business’s employees who may seek to reveal illegal and unethical practices. House Bill 405 will create new risks for workers, older adults, families and children because it extends to all industries including nursing homes, hospitals, group homes, medical practices, charter and private schools, daycare centers, and so forth.
Although the General Assembly and the Governor took a step in the right direction with “Burt’s Bill” earlier this week, H.B. 405 will undo that progress and prevent employees from calling foul when they spot unethical, inhumane or illegal behaviors. Abuse and neglect towards North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations may continue and go underreported if House Bill 405 becomes law. Protections for businesses should not jeopardize the health, safety and security of North Carolina’s citizens and most vulnerable populations. AARP believes that administrative and legislative policies and procedures should promote fairness, openness, and accountability.
Instead of addressing and correcting abusive practices, the large scope of HB 405 undermines whistleblower protections. Under this bill, businesses owners and managers could hide practices which could be harmful to their clients, their families and the public at large by punishing employees who blow the whistle on illegal or unethical practices while also subjecting individuals who reveal these acts to significant financial penalties.
“The public relies on our state leaders to pass legislation that protects our families. But what happens if employees are afraid or intimidated to report the abuse and unethical practices?” asked Charmaine Fuller Cooper, AARP’s advocacy leader in Raleigh. House Bill 405 sets up an atmosphere where the rights of North Carolina consumers, workers and residents fall behind the interests of business. AARP is ready to work with the state’s legislative leaders to strengthen, not undermine, patient and consumer protections, especially for our most vulnerable populations.”
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