• Recently submitted Virginia House Bill 2099 seeks to deregulate opticianry.
• This matter is crucial not only for opticians in Virginia, but for the field of opticianry as a whole.
• The OAV, backed by the support and power of the OAA, is already making our collective voices heard toward preventing passage of this bill into law.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) conducts program evaluation, policy analysis, and oversight of state agencies on behalf of the Virginia General Assembly. Given the current “deregulation” environment, the Virginia House just passed a resolution (HB 883: The Regulatory Reduction Pilot Program), advising JLARC to implement a three-year regulatory reduction program aimed at a 25% reduction in the regulations and regulatory requirements, as defined in the bill, of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation and the Department of Criminal Justice Services by July 1, 2021.
Unfortunately, Opticianry is an occupation that the JLARC has recommended be deregulated.
As a result of the JLARC’s recommendation of deregulating opticianry, State Representative Nicolas Freitas (R-30) has introduced House Bill 2099 that would, if passed, deregulate opticians in Virginia.
Obviously, this short-sighted action taken by Representative Freitas may not only cause a great setback not only in Virginia, but may set a precedent leading to nationwide ramifications. The OAA has been in close communication with the Opticians Association of Virginia (OAV) since release of the initial report from JLARC, and has provided financial backing and other support to assist with this legislative battle.
In response, the Opticians Association of Virginia started a grassroots movement urging all Virginia licensed opticians to contact their elected State Representatives and voice their opposition to the deregulation bill. Due to OAV’s quick and proactive call to action, there has been an overwhelming response to the call—so much so that the Virginia State legislators have asked that opticians stop sending emails, as it is clogging up their inboxes, assuring the opticianry community that they now fully understand the collective opposition of opticians to the bill.
The OAV has, therefore, now asked that opticians comply and stop contacting their elected officials, deeming that further email communication would be counterproductive at this time. However, the OAA and OAV will continue to monitor the situation closely toward preventing the passage of this damaging bill and the resulting elimination of licensure requirements in Virginia. To reiterate, the OAA and OAV ask that you do NOT contact any elected official in Virginia about this matter until further notice, as we are seeking to maintain the delicate balance between pressure and partnership where Virginia legislators are concerned. Timing is everything.
The OAA will continue to update you, our members, on the status of the Virginia deregulation legislation and will report if any further action is needed by the OAA Membership.