State Legislation Roundup: ENA-Supported Bills Become Law in Three States

September 7, 2018

South Dakota Sees News Laws Passed on Workplace Violence, Sexual Assault

ENA applauds the South Dakota Legislature for passing, and Gov. Dennis Daugaard for signing into law, legislation related to two ENA-supported state policy priorities earlier this year. On March 22, Daugaard signed HB 1126, which clarifies current law to protect survivors of sexual assault by improving the definition of a sexual assault examination to ensure that victims are not being billed for the procedure. It also states that cooperation with law enforcement is not required in order to receive such an examination. Previously, concerns about billing and law enforcement participation were thought to add unnecessary barriers to survivors receiving care. ENA South Dakota Government Affairs Chairperson Sandra Ruesch, who became South Dakota’s first board certified sexual assault nurse examiner in 2010, worked closely with Rep. Tim Reed (Brookings) in supporting the legislation. Ruesch testified twice in support of the bill, including before the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee in March.

That same month, Daugaard also signed into law HB 1293, which allows for felony charges to be brought against anyone who assaults health care facility personnel while they are engaged in patient care. Current law provides similar protection to professionals such as police officers, firefighters, and ambulance service personnel. South Dakota is now the 31st state to strengthen laws against assaulting emergency nurses.

Virginia Expands Nurse Practitioner Authority, Access to Primary Care

On April 4, Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law HB 793, a bill that expands the ability for nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their education and training. According to the new law, which went into effect July 1, licensed nurse practitioners with at least five years of full-time clinical experience will be able to apply to practice outside of an agreement with a patient care team physician. Current law requires nurse practitioners to practice under a contractual agreement with a physician. According to statistics, more than half of Virginia’s nurse practitioners could be affected. ENA supported this move to increase access to these providers in Virginia where, like many other states, finding options for primary care in rural areas can be difficult.

Illinois Law Supports Timely Access to Specialized Sexual Assault Care

On Aug. 10, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law HB 5245, which increases the number of sexual assault nurse examiners in the state, including those who are specially trained to treat child victims of sexual assault. Illinois ENA members worked to pass the bill, aligning its support with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office; raising the issue of sexual assault care during town hall sessions with legislators; and contacting the governor’s office urging him to sign the bill. The bill quickly moved through the legislature, with members voting unanimously to enact the bill. Hospitals have until 2022 to comply with the new requirements for ensuring an appropriate number of staff receive the specialized training.

About the Emergency Nurses Association

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With more than 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines, and guides emergency healthcare public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at

ENA Media Contact:

Dan Campana
Director of Communications