A campaign to require background checks and a registry for home health assistants says it will turn in 550,000 petition signatures to get on the statewide ballot.
Home health assistants help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes. The measure would also guarantee their union bargaining rights, lock the changes into the state constitution, and it would create a registry for home health care workers.
Don Hoyle is the campaign’s treasurer. He also works for a disabilities rights organization. He says the campaign is a response to the Legislature ending funding for the registry. He says the registry protects seniors and people with disabilities who require in-home care.
“Because they are either exploited, abused, or hurt otherwise, and it makes no sense to have criminal background checks and everything else or whatever for people who drive busses, but not have it for people who come into your own home and provide you with that kinds of services, those kinds of intimate care,” he says.
Opponents of the campaign, including Republicans at the state Capitol, say the ballot drive is an effort to allow unions to tap into Medicaid funds for membership dues.
A federal judge has blocked a state law that forbids home health care workers from organizing.