Originally created 03/10/99

Ax nurses' jobs bill 031099 - The Augusta Chronicle



In the name of good health, new Georgia Senate bill S.B. 244 calls for medical professionals -- i.e., nurses -- to store and distribute to students in both public and private schools medications the students administer to themselves.

If the students can administer medications themselves, why the need for medical professionals? These bills are nothing more than a jobs program for nurses at taxpayers' expense -- and should be opposed on the merits.

However, longtime Georgia Capitol lobbyist Sue Ella Deadwyler cites a serious legal flaw with the bills as well. They are disallowed by the state constitution which reads: "School funds shall be expended only for the support and maintenance of public schools, public vocational and technical schools, public education, and activities necessary or incidental thereto, including school lunch purposes."

As Deadwyler points out, the law couldn't be clearer. Education funds are to be spent solely on education activities; to use them for any other purpose -- including health care -- is unlawful.

If Georgia's senators want to push ahead with a jobs bill for nurses, they should do so in the context of holding a statewide referendum to change the constitution.