Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Judge slaps patch on Black's eye bill

Parents of North Carolina's next kindergarten class won't have to reach for their wallets to get eye exams for their kids, that is, unless they want to. A Wake County judge issued an injunction delaying the implementation of a state law requiring eye exams for all pre-K children planning to enroll in a public school.

NC Speaker of the House Jim Black, an optometrist himself, quietly pushed the bill creating the law through the General Assembly by attaching it to other legislation. Wide public notice of the bill happened only after it became law. Several NC school boards and a Wake County parent filed suit to have the law overturned. The ruling delays the law until July 2007.

I heard a spokeswoman for the state school board association on WPTF this afternoon. She said her group hopes legislators will spike the law during its short session, which starts in late spring. She also mentioned that several members of the NC Senate seem willing to consider the possbility.

I believe this law seems as those fuzzy letters I see on the wall when I go to the optometrist's office for an exam. I believe the number of children it would save from a school career filled with learning disabilities would be negligible. If Speaker Dr. Black and the state's other optometrists want to open their doors and give complimentary exams to supplement the eye screenings NC students already receive, they may get a bow from me.

Jim Black Must Go doen't have much on this story yet, but there's plenty of other Black tidbits, including a good breakdown on contributions Dr. Speaker steered Mike Decker's way.

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