Olympia, WA – A Republican state senator has become a target of derision after she argued that nurses at small hospitals don’t need uninterrupted meal breaks and mandatory overtime protection because they "probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day."
Washington State Senator Maureen Walsh made the remark on the senate floor on April 16, but all hell broke loose after she was quoted in a blog posted by the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) on Friday, CBS News reported.
Walsh was arguing for an amendment to exclude small hospitals from a bill that would protect meal breaks and mandatory overtime for nurses.
“I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day,” she said during a debate about the legislation.
WSNA’s blog called Wash’s remarks “"incredibly disrespectful and patronizing."
"No, senator, nurses are not sitting around playing cards," it read. "They are taking care of your neighbors, your family, your community."
Walsh’s comments about nurses playing cards quickly went viral, and nurses and their supporters clapped back hard at the politician.
The senator defended herself and said she has the utmost respect for nurses, and revealed that her own mother was a nurse, according to CBS News.
But that excuse did little to quash the outrage being hurled at her via every social media channel.
Numerous police officers and law enforcement agencies across the country shared a meme that welcomed the nursing profession to the club of disrespected professions.
Over a three-day period, angry nurses were able to collect 650,000 signatures from nurses challenging the lawmaker to spend a day walking in their shoes. On Tuesday, Walsh accepted the challenge, USA Today reported.
On Wednesday, The Hill reported that 667 packs of playing cards addressed to Walsh had been received by a UPS store on the senator's behalf.
The legislation passed the Senate and has moved on to the House for a final vote, which it was expected to receive without roadblocks, CBS News reported.
From there, the bill will go to Washington Governor Jay Inslee for his consideration and signature.