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Arizona Bill Further Penalizing Those Who Assault Health Care Workers Moves Forward

A bill that would impose harsher penalties on people who assault health care workers is moving from the Arizona House to the Senate. It requires employers to develop workplace violence prevention plans.

The measure would also raise the level of the offense from a class six felony to a class five. That change takes away the possibility of the crime being treated as a misdemeanor.

Rep. John Allen (R-Scottsdale) said it will help address an issue health care workers face on a daily basis.

“At 3 a.m. you get all kinds of folks wheeled in there, some on alcohol, they’ve taken drugs and some of these people can be very abusive to the staff," Allen said.

Allen said workers are often pressured not to file complaints and even when authorities are called, the charges are often reduced and go unprosecuted.

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.