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Legislative Update

Insight 2nd quarter 2018
Legislative Report

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all know how much FOA appreciates your support and values the time and energy it takes for you to help us help you.  I realize that statement sounds a bit like a commercial.  However, it is meant both as a compliment to you, and a confirmation of our commitment to serve you by protecting and advocating for our profession. To these ends, you have our assurance that we will continue working to provide you the utmost freedom to take the best care possible of the patients you serve in the great State of Florida.

So for now, thanks, and on with the update:

HB 7059 - New Florida Optometry Licenses

 As you may recall, the process to obtain a new license to practice optometry in Florida became a highly tortured process due to a suit brought against the Florida Board of Optometry last year. FOA worked diligently this last legislative session to correct the process - thru HB 7059.  

HB 7059- Optometry:Requires DOH to license applicant for licensure & certification as optometrist when applicant meets specified requirements; removes requirements for examination fees for certification & licensure; requires fee for licensure; revises application requirements to include obtaining passing score on certain licensure examination within specified period; authorizes Board of Optometry to establish rules for passing score; removes specific topics that must be tested on licensure examination.

Effective Date:March 21, 2018

Last Event:Passed and signed into LAW -Chapter No. 2018-78 on Thursday, March 22, 2018 12:12 PM

 FOA is very proud of this accomplishment, and believes this bill creates a fair process by which all candidates may prove current competency to practice Optometry in the State of Florida.  Although this may not initially seem to be a significant legislative achievement, please consider these two facts in reaching your conclusion:

1. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) attempted to pass legislation to correct this problem by allowing "licensure by endorsement."  Put simply- if you have a license in another state, you can pay a fee, take an on-line laws and rules test, and get your new Florida Optometry License.  How would that serve to protect Floridians?????? 

CS/CS/ HB 1047 Department of Health:Revises & provides provisions relating to DOH, including licensure, registration, inspection, discipline, permits, adverse incidents, education requirements; repeals provisions related to registration, registration certificates, change of ownership or address, advertising, information, periodic inspections, & equipment & supplies, suspension, revocation, & administrative fines, rules, & violations;

Effective Date:July 1, 2018

Last Event:Died on Second Reading Calendar on Saturday, March 10, 2018 12:00 AM

DOH  included  changes to Optometry licensure in HB 1047 without even discussing the impact of such changes with either the Board of Optometry or the FOA.  The DOH proposed language on licensure contradicted the language in HB 7059, and thus jeopardized its passage.  That may explain their secrecy.

2.  ONLY 200 bills passed this session out of 3000+ bills filed


To hear more about what happened last session- please attend our Legislative Lunch at the FOA Convention in July at the Disney Grand Floridian.  We will also keep you informed on the potential impact of HB 21 - Florida Mandatory Opioid CME.  

HB 21 will redefine schedule II opioids to include hydrocodone and codeine due to the ongoing problems with opiate addiction and prescriber abuse. Reclassification of codeine as a class II agent could prevent certified optometrists, with oral prescriptive authority, from prescribing Acetaminophen 300 mg with No. 3 codeine phosphate 30 mg - due to its potential new schedule II schedule.  Tramadol hydrochloride is still considered a schedule IV pharmaceutical in HB21.


Dr. Kenneth W. Lawson

FOA Legislative Chair




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