Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has vetoed a bill that would have allowed nurse practitioners in the state to practice independently along with their counterparts in 18 other states, including Iowa and Colorado. 

Legislative Bill 916 would have eliminated the legal requirement that NPs sign a practice agreement with a doctor and passed the Nebraska Legislature 43-0, but Heineman said the bill goes “too far, too quickly,” Ohama World Herald reported.

LB 916 included a requirement that newly graduated NPs gain a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice under the guidance of a physician or established nurse practitioner before practicing autonomously. Heineman said he would have signed the bill if the clinical experience requirement was increased to 4,000 hours. 

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Nebraska Sen. Sue Crawford, who introduced the bill, said the veto “squandered an opportunity to expand health care access in Nebraska,” which faces a shortage of primary care and mental health providers in rural areas.

Although LB 916 received well above the 30 votes needed to override a veto, lawmakers did not pass the bill until the last day of the session and will not have a chance to vote on an override.

Two state review panels overseen by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have endorsed LB 916. The Nebraska Medical Association has apposed the bill.