House Bill 317 — Repeal and replacement of the Optometric Physician Licensing Act

House Bill 317 — Repeal and replacement of the Optometric Physician Licensing Act

by
Lindsay Atkinson
January 14, 2020

Bill description: HB 317 repeals and replaces the Optometric Physician Licensing Act.

Rating: +1

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

This bill rewrites the scope-of-practice law covering optometry by excluding optometrists from performing 32 different procedures relating to the human eye.

(-1)

However, the rewrite of this act does allow optometrists to do one new thing. If this bill becomes law, optometrists would be able to use therapeutic lasers, which is specifically not allowed in current law.

(+1)

But the requirements optometrists must meet to be granted authorization to use therapeutic lasers are time-consuming. Optometrists are required to pass a laser and surgical procedures exam, perform laser therapy while under a provisional authorization, and complete five supervised laser procedures before being granted full authorization.

(-1)

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market? 

This bill clarifies who is exempt from licensure. There are exemptions for those who sell ready-to-wear glasses, visiting optometry consultants, optometry instructors who are licensed in other states, those licensed to practice medicine, and others.

(+1)

The act rewrite removes several of the current requirements for licensure. Optometrists no longer have to be persons of undefined “good moral character” or “more than twenty-one (21) years of age.”

(+1)

The rewrite of this act also clarifies who qualifies for endorsement licensure. It states that the Idaho Board of Optometry may grant a license to an applicant who is licensed, certified, or registered in another state. Additionally, the board could allow anyone who is authorized to perform laser therapy in another state to perform that same therapy in Idaho.

(+1)

The act rewrite also repeals some of the circumstances that, under current law, call for discipline by the board. This disciplinary action can result in the suspension, revocation, or refusal of a license. If this bill becomes law, then some of these circumstances whereby applicants can be refused entry into their desired occupation would be removed. Examples include disciplinary action for committing a crime involving moral turpitude, gross incompetency, having committed an act (without a conviction attached) that constitutes a felony, and employing cappers or steerers (people who are paid to refer patients to particular providers).

(+1)

However, the act rewrite also adds to the list of circumstances that call for discipline by the board some items not listed in current law. These include having a license revoked or suspended in another state, failing to comply with a board order, and interfering with a board investigation.

(-1)

But the act rewrite does include a new addition that is of particularly good benefit for those with criminal convictions. The rewrite establishes a new power of the Idaho Board of Optometry to “provide a procedure for an applicant to request a review for a felony or lesser crime conviction.” Since it is within the power of the board to deny applicants who have been convicted of certain offenses, this bill would also give it the power to review the case of certain applicants who request that the board consider their rehabilitation since their offense. 

(+1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments? 

This bill rewrites the optometry act so that the licensing fees are established by the licensing board, without any not-to-exceed guidance from the Legislature. Current law states that whatever fee the board sets, it is “not to exceed one hundred seventy-five dollars ($175).” This bill removes that top fee limit, and allows the board complete power to determine the licensing fee. 

(-1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes? 

The rewrite adds a new misdemeanor to state law. It adds that any unlicensed individual who duplicates “any ophthalmic lens for corrective purposes or for assisting vision” can be charged with a misdemeanor. 

(-1)

Idaho Freedom Foundation
802 W. Bannock Street, Suite 405, Boise, Idaho 83702
p 208.258.2280 | e [email protected]
COPYRIGHT © 2021 Idaho freedom Foundation
magnifiercrossmenucross-circle
>
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram