A measure pushed by House Speaker Jim Black to require all children to undergo comprehensive eye exams should be repealed, a Senate health care committee decided Wednesday.
Black, D-Mecklenburg, helped add the eye requirement to the budget last year. It would keep children out of kindergarten unless they receive an in-depth examination conducted by a North Carolina optometrist or ophthalmologist within six months of starting school.
"Requiring children to undergo a comprehensive eye exam before they are allowed to enter school places an unnecessary, unfair and expensive burden on North Carolina families," said Sen. Julia Boseman, D-New Hanover, sponsor of the measure to repeal the law, which passed in an unanimous voice vote.
Fearing that some students would be barred from the classroom, 87 school boards sued the state to halt the program. In March, a Superior Court judge put off the requirement until July 2007 to give lawmakers time to address concerns.
Many have criticized Black, a Charlotte-area optometrist, for pandering to his supporters in the industry. The state appropriated $2 million a year to help poor families pay eye specialists for the exams.
Good move by this committee. This bill was a waste of paper that only added to the pocketbook of optometrist, like Black, while actually doing nothing for the kids that it was stated to help.