top of page

Supporting Opticians in Virginia

Legislative Update

March 12, 2024

 

The 2024 Session of the Virginia General Assembly adjourned on Saturday, March 9, after adopting the new two-year budget and disposing of nearly 3000 bill and resolutions that had been introduced in the House and Senate during the course of the Session. Fortunately, none of those pieces of legislation introduced during the 2024 Session proposed the deregulation of opticianry.

 

As shared with you previously, we were successful in proactively heading this issue off after we learned of the potential proposal last fall. Our professional lobbying and advocacy team was able to stop this in its tracks. However, we will continue to monitor the remaining legislative process for this Session to ensure nothing is slipped in at the last minute. Although we do not anticipate any such action, the Governor has thirty days after the Session is over to propose amendments to the bills and to the budget that have been sent to him for his signature. Any actions the Governor takes in this regard are then sent to the General Assembly for approval at the Reconvened Session in mid-April. Again, we have no reason to expect any adverse actions during this last process of the 2024 Session, but as a wise man once said, it's never over until it's over.

 

In the meantime, we plan to begin formulating our strategy for the rest of the year to strengthen and fortify our profession and to take the proactive steps necessary to protect our profession from future deregulation attempts. We ask that you continue to do your part in this ongoing process to protect our profession. Please continue to financially support our profession and your future in it. We will continue to update you in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Continued Help is Needed

 

Visit our NEW website www.opticiansforvirignia.org to stay informed on this and other issues of importance to the profession. And if you are not a member, PLEASE JOIN! Every penny of your membership fee goes directly to legislative efforts and protection of your career.

 

We need your help to have the financial resources to secure and maintain lobbying representation for this action and for continued legislative maintenance to make sure that we continue to protect our profession. If we have learned nothing else from this situation, it is that this step is no longer optional – it is a must for the future of Opticians in Virginia to have ongoing and attentive representation of our profession.  

February 13, 2024

The 2024 General Assembly has reached its "Crossover" mid-point of the 2024 Session, when all House legislation must clear the House and all Senate legislation must clear the Senate. After midnight on Tuesday, February 13, each house may only consider legislation that made it over from the other body. With this key legislative deadline passing, we are happy to report that still no legislation to deregulate opticianry has been introduced in either house.

 

The next 2024 Session milestone is presentation of the House and Senate budgets, which will occur on Sunday, February 18. Then we will learn about the spending priorities in both houses, as well as of any language amendments that may have been inserted in those documents. Sometimes language can be inserted into the budget that may have nothing to do with any fiscal policy, but is seen as "legislating through the budget". We have no reason to believe anything like this is going to happen with the practice of opticianry, but we are monitoring this process to make sure.

 

We remain cautiously optimistic that this issue may not arise this Session, mainly because we took the proactive advocacy efforts necessary in advance and brought in competent professionals to help head this off. However, even if we are successful in eventually coming out of the Session unscathed, in the long-term, we will need to take the steps necessary moving forward to bolster our profession and put us in a stronger position in the future to guard against such efforts. We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you informed as the situation merits. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Continued Help is Needed

Stay informed on this and other issues of importance to the profession by checking the website frequently. And if you are not a member, PLEASE JOIN! Every penny of your membership fee goes directly to legislative efforts and protection of your career.

 

We need your help to have the financial resources to secure and maintain lobbying representation for this action and for continued legislative maintenance to make sure that we continue to protect our profession. If we have learned nothing else from this situation, it is that this step is no longer optional – it is a must for the future of Opticians in Virginia to have ongoing and attentive representation of our profession.  

January 24, 2024

The deadline for the introduction of all legislation in the General Assembly has now passed. Although there are ways that additional legislation can be brought forward, those situations are usually reserved for non-controversial or emergency measures. We are happy to report that our efforts to thwart this attack have been paying off and no legislation has been introduced so far to deregulate opticians. 

 

Our lobbying team has worked very diligently to prevent such legislation from being introduced and will continue to monitor the situation for the remainder of the 2024 Session. Should the situation change, we will alert you immediately.

Stay informed on this and other issues of importance to the profession by checking the website frequently. If you are not a member, PLEASE JOIN! Every penny of your membership fee goes directly to legislative efforts and protection of your career.

 

We need your help to have the financial resources to secure and maintain lobbying representation for this action and for continued legislative maintenance to make sure that we continue to protect our profession. If we have learned nothing else from this situation, it is that this step is no longer optional – it is a must for the future of Opticians in Virginia to have ongoing and attentive representation of our profession.  

December 18, 2023

Here is the latest update on where things stand with our efforts to resist the latest attempts to deregulate opticianry in Virginia. Ever since we retained our professional lobbying team after this attempt became known, they have been working diligently behind the scenes, both to educate the appropriate state government officials on this issue to persuade them that this is not a prudent course to take, and to coordinate efforts with some of our national partners for additional advocacy efforts where needed. We have been encouraged by these efforts and continue to follow this course. The deadline for legislators to submit drafting requests for pre-filed legislation has now passed, but since these requests are confidential until a legislator chooses to introduce a bill, we do not know yet whether any requests have been made to draft deregulation legislation. 

Until (or if) a bill is introduced, we will not know for sure if the Administration has chosen to proceed with this path. 

 

We remain cautiously optimistic that they will not. However, even if they do not, there is nothing to stop any other random legislator to introduce deregulation legislation should they see fit when the General Assembly convenes on January 10, 2024. Because of this and because we do not know yet the new composition of House and Senate committee membership following the November General Assembly elections, we are not yet at a point where we are ready to call for a full-fledged grassroots effort by our members. Until we know for sure whether or not legislation is introduced, we need to keep our grassroots action in reserve until it is needed and will be most effective. We promise to keep you continuously informed as necessary and as events merit. Thank you for your patience and rest assured that we continue to proactively and effectively work on your behalf!"

 

Please help us fund these legislative efforts.

 

This is about YOUR career. The burden should not lie on the shoulders of the few that are volunteering in this effort. EVERY OPTICIAN needs to help provide the financial resources to maintain our lobbying representation for this immediate issue and moving forward.

 

If we have learned nothing else from these situations it is that maintaining a strong legislative fund is no longer optional – We must have ongoing and attentive representation of our profession. 



  • Every penny of your membership fee or donation goes directly to legislative efforts and protection of your career. No one on the board of OAV receives any compensation. This organization is run strictly through volunteers who are passionate for our profession.

  • If you are not a member, PLEASE JOIN! 

  • If you are unable to join at this time there are multiple options for you to donate whatever you can to the legislative effort.

 

In the Weeks & Months Ahead  

Stay alert to future communications from us to share our lobbying strategy and issue action alerts when and if necessary.

November 8, 2023

 

We want to give you an update on where things stand with our efforts to resist the latest attempts to deregulate opticianry in Virginia. As you know, once this attempt became known, we immediately shored up our professional lobbying and advocacy profile to resist and divert deregulation. Our lobbyists have been working diligently behind the scenes on our behalf to educate the appropriate decision-makers within state government on this issue and hopefully persuade them that this is not a prudent course to take. We have been cautiously encouraged by these efforts and continue to follow this course.

 

We are not yet at a point where we are ready to call for a full-fledged grassroots effort by our members. There are still other avenues being pursued right now and we need to keep grassroots action in reserve until it is needed and will be most effective. We promise to keep you continuously informed as necessary and as events merit. Thank you for your patience and rest assured that we are proactively and effectively working on your behalf!

 

 Protect Our Consumers and Our Profession

 

This is about YOUR career. OAV has secured lobbyists to help us with this fight. But now we need your help! EVERY OPTICIAN needs to help provide the financial resources to maintain our lobbying representation for this immediate issue and moving forward.The burden should not lie on the shoulders of the few that are volunteering in this effort.

 

If we have learned nothing else from these situations it is that maintaining a strong legislative fund is no longer optional – We must have ongoing and attentive representation of our profession. 



  • If you are not a member, PLEASE JOIN!

  • Every penny of your membership fee or donation goes directly to legislative efforts and protection of your career. No one on the board of OAV receives any compensation. This organization is run strictly through volunteers who are passionate for our profession.

  • If you are unable to join at this time there are multiple options for you to donate whatever you can to the legislative effort.

September 13, 2023 

At the last meeting of the Virginia State Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians (HASOPT) on August 16, 2023, the state board staff announced at the end of the meeting that the Youngkin administration plans to introduce legislation during the 2024 General Assembly to deregulate opticians.  This is based on a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) recommendation from their 2018 report on the operations of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). 

This is part of Governor Youngkin’s ongoing initiative to eliminate state regulations by 25%.  The lingering JLARC recommendation, implementation of which we were successful in defeating during the 2019 General Assembly, now appears to have resurfaced during this greater deregulation effort.

If you are unfamiliar with that JLARC study, here is the direct link to their 2018 report that included opticianry:  https://jlarc.virginia.gov/2018-dpor.asp.

Quoting from that report:

 

There are 11 occupations regulated by DPOR that do not appear to meet the criteria for regulation that are established in the Code of Virginia. These occupations include community managers, opticians, residential energy analysts, soil scientists, waste management facility operators, landscape architects, natural gas automobile mechanics, and others. State statute clearly indicates that the state should not restrict access to any occupation unless it is “necessary for the protection or preservation of the health, safety, and welfare of the public” (§ 54.1-100). These occupations do not meet the criteria, and regulation of these occupations could be reduced or eliminated through legislation.

 

The allied health profession of opticianry is being grouped with community managers and landscape architects as not meeting the criteria for the necessary “protection or preservation of the health, safety and welfare of the public”!  The aspect that makes this even more dire and difficult to defeat than past attacks is that this will not just be a bill proposed by a lone legislator.  

 

If this moves forward as announced, this would be legislation backed by the Governors’ office, as part of the Administration’s 2024 legislative agenda.  However, this does not mean it is a foregone conclusion!  But it does mean we have to act immediately and try to get ‘opticians’ out of any language in proposed legislation before it becomes law.  To that end, the Opticians Association of Virginia is already working hard to secure significant lobbying representation and working with national organizations to prepare the best strategy.  We will keep you updated as we fight to protect our profession and the Commonwealth. 

 

We need your help in this critical effort!  If you are already a member of the Optician Association of Virginia or if you are not a member and would like to join, visit our new website www.opticiansforvirignia.org to stay informed on this and other issues of importance to the profession.

In addition to that step, we need your help to have the financial resources to secure and maintain lobbying representation for this action and for continued legislative maintenance to make sure that we continue to protect our profession.  If we have learned nothing else from this situation, it is that this step is no longer optional – it is a must for the future of Opticians in Virginia to have ongoing and attentive representation of our profession. 

We need all opticians ready to assist in person and financially, your state organization is already working with National organizations to secure representation and strategic planning to make sure that we act together and in united front. 

Call to Action:  In the very near future, we will be calling on you to contact your local state Delegate and state Senator to share your concerns about deregulating opticianry in Virginia.   We will develop talking points and an issue paper to assist you when it comes time to make these contacts.  It is time to reinforce that opticianry is a health profession and is important for the health, safety and welfare of our citizens. This is an election year, so we need to make sure you let them know what is important to their voters!  In the meantime, stay alert to future communications from us to share our lobbying strategy and issue action alerts. 

bottom of page