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Legislative Update

Insight 1st quarter 2018
Legislative Report

Greetings Fellow Optometrists,

At the time of this writing, the 2018 Florida legislative session has reached its mid-point. Unfortunately, several state legislators have been highlighted in the press lately, and not for their political acumen. They have been accused, at times anonymously, of allegedly committing various inappropriate acts. I would ask all of you to refrain from focusing on these accusations and instead allow due legal process to resolve these matters on a case by case basis. Everyone should be treated with our respect and dignity, allowed to present their facts, and then be legally judged to be proven innocent or guilty. This should be our demeanor and disposition whether the individual is our sworn enemy or life-long friend.

In terms of your FOA, we have remained focused on repairing the process of obtaining a license to practice optometry in Florida. Since an administrative law judge struck down our 7 year rule last year, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) proposed legislation this session to grant licenses to optometry candidates based on endorsement. Put simply, the Florida Board of Optometry would no longer have autonomy to set testing standards that demonstrate competency in the practice of optometry. Instead, candidates who practice in another state, possibly with a radically different scope of practice act than Florida, could bypass the need to demonstrate their knowledge and “magically” be granted a license by the DOH. This process places the Florida Board of Optometry’s ability to protect public safety at risk.


“SB 1486 which seeks to add a new Section 463.0061, FS, to Chapter 463. This proposed new section is for the purpose of adding a new path to licensure as an optometrist, the new path being licensure by endorsement. Before commenting on the many unfortunate details of the language used in SB 1486 to allow licensure by endorsement, the FOA again reaffirms its strong opposition to allowing licensure by endorsement for the profession of optometry under any circumstances. For several reasons, licensure by endorsement is inappropriate and unworkable for the profession of optometry. The most fundamental of those reasons arises from the fact that the scope of the practice of optometry varies significantly from state to state, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to make reliable determinations as to whether the scope of an applicant’s practice in another jurisdiction is at least as extensive as the scope of practice that is permitted in Florida.” Leonard Carson -FOA Legal Counsel


“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.”


Kenneth W. Lawson OD

FOA Legislative Chair 




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