Trenton – The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Fred Madden that would establish the “Health Care Heroes Violence Prevention Act,” expanding protections for healthcare workers who are subjected to workplace violence.
“For two years, our nurses, doctors and health care professionals have been on the frontline of the COVID pandemic – often putting their own health at risk,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Sadly, this figurative battlefield has turned literal, with people physically assaulting these essential workers. This is simply unacceptable. This bill would send a clear message that our healthcare workers must be treated with the respect, decency and civility they deserve.”
The bill, S-2008, would expand the aggravating factors to be considered in sentencing a defendant to include whether an individual committed an offense against a health care worker while engaged in their professional duties. The bill would establish the criminal offense of threats against a health care professional, a volunteer working for a health care professional or working at a health care facility or an employee of a health care professional or health care facility.
“This legislation is vital to the protection of healthcare workers who have showed up every day to care for patients in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Senator Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “However, we have seen a rise in violent acts committed against healthcare workers and providers. The goal of this bill is to protect the individuals who show up for us daily and put their own health and well-being on the line to ensure patients are getting the care that they need.”
The bill passed committee by a vote of 12-0.