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Governor Vetoes AB 161
Yesterday, Governor Brown vetoed AB 161 for title protection of athletic trainers in California. In his veto, the governor wrote “I vetoed a nearly identical measure last year and continue to believe that the conditions set forth in this bill impose unnecessary burdens on athletic trainers without sufficient evidence that changes are needed.” Since it was clear that the bill did not impose unnecessary burdens on athletic trainers, but rather protected the public from unqualified people posing as certified athletic trainers, the decision by the governor to veto our bill is extremely frustrating and disappointing to say the least and many of us were shocked at the news. As many of you know, AB 161 had no recorded opposition and sailed through both the House and Senate with unanimous approval. While this decision is not what we expected, I can assure you that we will not stop in moving toward our goals of protecting patient safety and to obtain licensure for athletic trainers in California.
Despite this surprising decision, our efforts as an organization to support this bill and our members were second to none. Our CATA team worked tirelessly this past year by organizing a hit the hill day that was the largest political event in the country for athletic trainers (even larger than the NATA’s) and met repeatedly with the governor’s office to provide evidence of the need for this bill. I want to thank everyone who visited a legislator at Hit-the-Hill day or at their local office, hosted a legislator at your place of employment, wrote one of the thousands of letters of support for the bill, encouraged your friends and colleagues to write a letter in support, and/or shared our letter writing links on social media. That amount of support is immeasurable as it builds on our momentum towards our goals and is clearly a reason why we had such strong support for this bill in the legislature.
Legislative efforts are not a one-time effort but a consistent and collective long-term effort towards our goals. While we are all profoundly disappointed in the governor’s decision, we are in this for the long-term and we will not be denied. Let’s keep our head up by continuing to provide quality health care and report the evidence that the governor needs to demonstrate that utilizing non-certified personnel as athletic trainers is a public safety danger. I am reminded of the quote by Robert F. Kennedy who stated, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” I can assure you that while this bill failed to become law, our resolve towards our goals will not fail and we will achieve greatly.
Keep moving forward!