Nurses on parade: About a dozen Enloe nurses are joining a contingent of hundreds of members of the California Nurses Association who plan to converge in front of Sacramento Superior Court on Friday, May 14.

They’re protesting a lawsuit filed by the California Healthcare Association, a lobbying group of which Enloe Medical Center is a member, seeking to win a huge exception to a new law setting minimum staffing ratios.

“They’re trying to basically gut the law,” said Liz Jacobs, a nurse and spokesperson for the CNA. “They have been fighting this for over a dozen years.

The association sued the state Department of Health Services, arguing that the ratio requirement is impossible to reach and should apply only to the beginning and ending of each shift.

The march and rally will start at 11 a.m. at the Capitol Lawn and continue to the courthouse on Ninth Street.

Forebay floater: Butte County sheriffs determined the identity of a man found floating in Oroville Forebay May 8 to be that of Robert G. Browning, 37, of Paradise. Browning was found by a fisherman and is thought to have been in the water for a period of one to three weeks. He was never reported missing, shows no obvious signs of trauma and was fully clothed when he was discovered just west of the Nelson Avenue Bridge. Investigators are treating Browning’s death as suspicious but will know more when an autopsy is performed next week.

Back-door men: A back-door deal brokered between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the chancellors of the CSU and UC systems promises six years of somewhat predictable budgets.

“There had been a rumor [of a deal],” Professor Kathy Kaiser, a faculty representative to the CSU Board of Trustees, told Chico State’s Academic Senate on May 11. “This did happen behind the scenes.”

Referred to as a “compact,” the agreement calls for enough state money to fund 2.5 percent enrollment growth and 3- to 4-percent increases to the General Fund in coming years.

The CSU board still has to approve fee increases, but the compact calls for an average increase of 10 percent in each of the next three years for undergraduates ($288 more next year), a 25-percent increase in 2004-05 for graduate students and a 20-percent increase for teaching credential candidates.

Chico State Provost Scott McNall said that no matter what the university won’t be able to grow the way it had planned. “The reality is we will have cut the budget by almost $20 million over three years.”

SEEDS OF DOUBT: In response to a proposed local initiative that would ban genetically altered crops from being grown in Butte County, the county supes asked for a report from the ag commissioner on the potential economic and environmental effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Supporters of the initiative told the board Tuesday that GMO crops have yet to be proven safe and have the potential to contaminate neighboring crops without farmers’ consent or knowledge. That would be a major concern for local rice farmers, who export much of their crop to Japan, where many GMO foods have been banned.

Richvale Supervisor Curt Josiassen seemed skeptical of the initiative, noting that rice farmers have already agreed not to grow GMO crops here. Initiative supporters countered that not all farmers are so informed and organized and that formal regulation is needed to protect consumers and producers alike.