Liss uses bologna, but her factual claims aren't baloney, rules Truth Squad

Who: Lesia Liss for state representative, 28th District

What: YouTube video

Truth Squad call: No foul

Rep. Lesia Liss is facing a challenge in the Democratic primary in House District 28, which covers part of Macomb Township and Warren, and all of Center Line. Rep. John Switalski, currently representing the 25th District, and Liss were thrown into the ring together after redistricting from the 2010 census.

In a recent video posted on her campaign website, Liss makes a number of factual claims about her record, Switalski and the race in general.

Questionable statement: An off-screen voice questions Liss as she saws at a loaf of bologna: "(Your opponent and his supporters) have stated you opposed legislation to provide a safe number of nurses for each patient, and that other lobbyists told you to drop the issue. This isn’t true?"

Liss replies, "My predecessor, also a nurse, originally introduced this bill. It's the very first bill I reintroduced my first term. The Democratic leadership did not take it up. But once the Republicans gained power, (Switalski) introduced an identical bill. Could it have been for political reasons?"

The first reference is to House Bill 4008, which Liss introduced Jan. 22, 2009. It proposed to require hospitals to develop staffing plans that would establish legally required nurse-to-patient ratios, varying from unit to unit. It was referred to the Committee on Health Policy the following month, and died there. Switalski did co-sponsor a similar bill in February 2012, which was assigned to the same committee, and remains there. (Liss’ predecessor, Lisa Wojno, also introduced a similar bill in 2007.)

Questionable statement: Liss also claims to be the only emergency-room nurse in the Legislature, and asks, "How much education does my opponent have in the health-care field?"

The Michigan Nurses Association, which endorsed Switalski, confirms Liss is, indeed, the only emergency-room nurse currently serving in the Legislature. Switalski’s official House biography states his college degree from Grand Valley State University is in political science, and his health-care work is confined to being an "advocate for health workers for the Service Employees International Union."

Questionable statement: Finally, Liss states that she, "as a Democrat, have been able to get several bills signed into law protecting the citizens of this state, and yes, saving lives."

Liss’ legislative record, and claim to have "saved lives," hinges on bills she has sponsored that involve public-health issues, particularly prescription-drug abuse. In the most recent session,

Public Act 44 established an electronic monitoring system for certain drugs, and Public Act 209 clarifies the duties of physicians and pharmacists in filling prescriptions.

Overall impression: Liss titled her video "Time for some levity! LOL! It’s just bologna!" and appears to know her bologna-slicing act is a little strange for political advertising.

Truth Squad call: The reviewed claims about her record are factual. No foul.

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