SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has dropped the legal fight against one of his most vocal critics, deciding to stop battling the California Nurses Association over hospital staffing ratios. Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a motion late Thursday on behalf of the governor’s office withdrawing the state’s appeal of an earlier court ruling. “The governor is going to stop going after registered nurses and patient ratios,” nurses union executive director Rose Ann DeMoro said Friday, after the motion was made public. “For us, it is an enormous victory.” In June, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge ruled that the Schwarzenegger administration erred when it issued an emergency order a year ago seeking to delay a first-in-the-nation law requiring hospitals to provide more nurses. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The governor’s office filed an appeal shortly afterward with the state 3rd District Court of Appeal. “Throughout this process, our decisions have been guided by our efforts to ensure patient safety,” said Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Sabrina Demayo Lockhart. “In 10 months with the lower ratios the court mandated, it seems as though patient safety is not in jeopardy. So we’re going to move forward with the one-to-five ratio.” The governor’s action came two days after voters rejected all his proposed initiatives during the special election and on the same day he took “full responsibility” for the election debacle. Lockhart said the timing of the decision was related to a regulatory deadline that expires today, forcing the administration to decide whether to continue the court battle over the staffing ratios. “It wasn’t dictated by the outcome of the election at all,” Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said. The lower patient-to-nurse staffing ratio was not among the issues decided at the ballot box Tuesday but has been a long-sought goal of the 60,000-member nurses union. Its members were incensed about Schwarzenegger’s challenge to the 1999 law establishing the lower ratios. The law limited nursing coverage to no more than five patients at a time. Shortly after the November 2004 elections, Schwarzenegger sided with the hospital industry and attempted to continue the existing six-to-one ratio, citing a statewide nursing shortage and the financial burden to hospitals. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!