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Nurses Rally for Bernie, Push Legislative Agenda

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SACRAMENTO-- Over two hundred strong, nurses with the California Nurses Association marched from the convention center to the steps of the Capitol Building.

Their goal was two fold -- to advocate for bills they want to see made law this legislative session, and to put in place a president they feel will support their agenda on a national scale.

From the march through the streets of downtown to the singing, dancing, riveting Rosies and the traditional Mexican corridos composed in Sen. Bernie Sanders' honor,

The California Nurses Association's lobby day at times looked more like a presidential rally than a legislative lobbying effort. However, CNA President Deborah Burger feels when it comes to this candidate and their issues single payer health care, securing social security, education, they’re one and the same.

“Senator Sanders actually stole our platform, he stood for all these things,” Burger said.

On a state level, the CNA is advocating the California Prescription Drug Relief Act. Set to appear on the November ballot, the initiative would limit the cost the State of California pays for any given prescription drug to no more than what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

“It just tells the drug companies, 'Hey, we want the same deals congress forced you to give the VA, which pays the lowest prices in the country,'” Mark Capitolo, an advocate for the initiative, told FOX40.

Opponents, including large pharmaceutical companies, say the measure misleading and would actually drive up costs.

“It’s unworkable and unenforceable. There will be lawsuit against the state and the tax payers will be on the hook to pay for that”, Kathy Fairbanks, who is campaigning against the law, said Wednesday.

The CNA also has their eyes on several bills that will be decided by lawmakers including a bill about Surgical Smoke Plumes created during some medical procedures potentially affecting doctors, nurses and patients.

“Those particles and smoke can be viruses, bacterial, chemical, and they’re literally inhaling through their mouth and noses and being infected,” the CNA's Bonnie Castillo said.

The CNA wants hospital to increase safety measures. However, the Hospital Association says in part, “We support those efforts. However, the very narrow manner in which this bill is written could pose serious challenges to hospital efforts to reduce these byproducts. CHA is working with the author and sponsors of the bill to address our concerns. We are hopeful that we can reach a mutually agreeable solution.”