Important Legislative Alert (November 2016)
Joint Message, NCOA State Board (click to open the document)
Important Message From The NCOA – Clarification of Upcoming Legislative Actions (April 2016)
On Tuesday April 5th, The Joint Legislative Administrative Procedures Oversite Committee (APO) will hear testimony regarding consolidation of the Board of Opticians into the Board of Optometry, as well as deliberation on other Occupational Boards under scrutiny. A copy of the draft bill is available by link below as well as other links to related legislation. The North Carolina State Board of Opticians as well as the North Carolina Opticians Association will have representation at that meeting.
While Senate Bill 525 will NOT be voted on Tuesday, Opticians still need to contact their representative from their legislative district and explain why the Opticians Board should remain an independent Board and how Licensed Opticians serve the public here in North Carolina. Explain to them why Senate Bill 525 should taken out of committee and be passed this legislative session to keep our Board strong and help fulfill its mandate to protect the public as has for over 50 years.
TDOA Legislative Update Summer 2015
Legislation (HB340 & SB221) extending the Tennessee Board of Dispensing Opticians sunset review until June 30, 2021 was passed in the House and Senate during the spring 2015 legislative session. The bills passed through most committees with unanimous votes because the Optician Board did not have any financial deficits, as was the case in the last sunset review, due to the increase in the license renewal fees. Communications to legislators stressing the importance of the licensed optician were also key in obtaining a positive vote.
TDOA officers, directors, and members along with Licensing Board members made numerous calls and emails to the senators and representatives in support of optician licensure and attended committee votes. Lobbyist Theo Morrison spoke directly with legislators on behalf of opticians and closely monitored the voting and legislative process. Thanks to the contributions of time and money (membership dues, PAC donations, etc) from the TDOA membership, even the opticians who are not members and do nothing in support of their own profession may continue to practice with a license in Tennessee until 2021!
The Political Action Committee for Opticians
What is OptiPAC?
The Tennessee Dispensing Opticians Association Political Action Committee (OptiPAC) is a non-partisan, voluntary, non-profit organization of the Tennessee Dispensing Opticians Association with membership open to all Tennessee opticians, their spouses, and other friends of the optical community. OptiPAC benefits the entire optical industry through political contributions to political candidates, provides the lawful means by which opticians can effectively express their views, and increases their political impact through a united, collective effort.
OptiPAC was organized in 1998 to encourage members of the optical profession to take a more active and organized role in government and governmental affairs. Opticians needed an organization through which they could participate more effectively in supporting political candidates who understand the interests of the optical business.
Additionally, OptiPAC was created to provide a forum for educating its members about state and national political activities affecting the optical industry. OptiPAC provides an effective way for members to become politically involved at both state and national levels.
Representation on this scale is essential if we are to establish and maintain the best environment for opticianry in Tennessee.
How does OptiPAC benefit me?
By joining with other Tennessee opticians, you create a constituency that represents your professional needs and concerns. Whether you are affiliated with a national chain or an independent operation, you cannot afford to ignore the effect that public policy makers have on the future of your business.
Only through collective political action can we ensure that our lawmakers hear the voice of the optical industry. These lawmakers are shaping the future of the financial services profession, and it is the professional responsibility of all members of the optical community to be involved in the political process.
Essentially, participation in OptiPAC represents your professional interest in:
- Maintaining a licensing structure regulated by the Tennessee Department of Health.
- A fair, competitive atmosphere within the optical services industry.
- A commitment to a high standard of opticianry in Tennessee.
- An interest in and the need to foster an ongoing dialogue between opticians and public policy makers.
How does OptiPAC decide which candidate to support?
Led by Theo Morrison, he and the PAC committee carefully review candidates for public office and make their decisions based upon several different factors. The primary factors that determine candidate support are:
- Input from local opticians regarding the candidate’s qualifications and background.
- Analysis of previous election returns to determine the partisan strength of a particular district.
- Input from the TDOA lobbyist and legal counsel regarding the candidate’s previous support of TDOA legislative objectives (this criteria is used only when one of the candidates is an incumbent).
- Most importantly, candidate support is based on the interest a candidate shares with the optical industry in providing licensed, high-quality, competitive optical services to Tennesseans.
How much should I contribute?
Tennessee OptiPAC depends upon personal contributions from individual opticians. Under state law, corporate donations are not permissible.
The following donor categories have been established to provide suggested giving levels and appropriate recognition of OptiPAC contributors:
Titan – Over $200
Diamond – $100-$200
Optician – $26-$99
Apprentice – $10-$25
All donors will receive recognition in publications and at TDOA conferences and conventions. In addition, OptiPAC plans to host a donor reception in conjunction with the Annual Convention, which may include a few surprises, like a guest appearance by a prominent elected official in the State of Tennessee.
Shouldn’t I give directly to the candidate of my choice?
Yes, you should, but don’t overlook the greater impact that you gain by pooling resources with your colleagues. One voice may speak loudly, but by pooling the resources of opticians statewide, legislators will hear a much louder and unified voice for a concentrated effect in key districts. OptiPAC provides the mechanism for a well-organized, effective effort that coordinates the collective interests of the optical industry in Tennessee.
Do I receive a tax benefit by giving to OptiPAC?
If you are a Tennessean, you are not eligible for a tax benefit. But you do receive the benefit of knowing that you are making a difference by helping to elect individuals who believe in the practice of opticianry.