I’d like to thank the WOA membership for all their support and effort regarding our legislative process this last year. About a year ago, after attending one of our national meetings, we began to discuss what type of legislation we should do for the 2016 session. As you know, we had come to the decision to proceed with the Consumer Protection in Eye Care bill. We knew there would be obstacles in our way. We felt that this would be a good piece of legislation to help protect our Wyoming patients from the efforts of on-line and other entities that are seeking to mislead the consumer into believing that a vision assessment by an automated process, in some way constitutes an eye exam and provides for quality eye care. As you know from previous correspondence, we did not achieve passage of the bill. While this was somewhat discouraging, it does not constitute failure of the WOA. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
So, what was successful? This was the first attempt of any type of legislation by our membership in 20 years. We learned, in better detail, how the whole process works. We have a better understanding of how bills are vetted, how amendments are introduced, and how the body of the legislation tends to think. We introduced legislation in a short session where many people said that even getting a bill heard could prove difficult because of the state budget concerns. In fact, we did see many bills not make the initial reading or clear the committees to which they had been assigned. Our bill passed thru three Senate floor readings, two House readings, and both committees to which it had been assigned. This is a testament to the level of respect and influence you have as optometrists in the state of Wyoming. We had many legislators comment on how important they felt their relationship was with their optometrist. We had a great response and effort by our membership to contact their legislators before the session started to ask for their support regarding our bill.
Our grassroots effort is revitalized and effective, but we must now maintain this success. It is absolutely critical that you contact your legislator to thank them for their support this year. If you have not done this already, I implore you to do this right away. Please e-mail me once you have accomplished this, so that I can indicate that this task has been completed. Please include any feedback, good or bad, that you get from the Legislator regarding our bill. Also, there will be a number of our legislators that will be running for re-election this year. We will be contacting you regarding this information. We are asking that you support them in this effort both financially and by volunteering to assist their campaign. A $50 check and knocking a few doors can make a huge difference in your relationship to your legislator. I can tell you that when we are in the middle of trying to get a bill thru the process, that being able to call a legislators key contact to discuss the bill or any concerns about a bill is absolutely critical to our success.
Dr. Dana Day, WOA Legislative Chair