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Single-payer healthcare advocates protest at Capitol with a message for California's Assembly speaker: 'Shame on you!'

Backers of a measure to establish a single-payer healthcare system in California rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday to renounce Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), who shelved the bill last week.

Several hundred demonstrators, many affiliated with the California Nurses Assn., the legislation's sponsor, convened in the Capitol rotunda, where they unfurled a banner that blared "Inaction = Death," before handing off signs with written complaints to a member of Rendon's staff.

The rally, on the heels of a smaller demonstration at Rendon's district office on Tuesday, is a sign of how single-payer backers continue to seethe after the bill, SB 562, stalled on Friday.

Patty Estefes, a retired nurse from San Jose, said the campaign for single-payer heathcare, in which the government would cover all residents' healthcare costs, was her passion.

"Rendon sabotaged SB 562 and we want to take the knife out," said Estefes, explaining her sign, which had an image of the California grizzly bear stabbed in the back with a blade labeled "Rendon."

The image has become popular among supporters of the bill, although other Democrats have said the violence of the image makes them uneasy.

Meanwhile, another union leader, Robbie Hunter of the powerful State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, chimed in Wednesday with support for the state Assembly speaker.

"Working people have real fights, and they are not with a labor champion like Anthony Rendon," said Hunter, who denounced the criticism from single-payer advocates as "unfair and unwarranted attacks."

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