Republicans Against Children, Right Out of the Gate

The Republicans have come out showing their true colors in this short session of the NC Legislature. The first bill on the calendar for today, the first full day in session?

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT TO REPEAL THE GOVERNOR'S VISION CARE PROGRAM AND THE REQUIREMENT FOR A COMPREHENSIVE EYE EXAMINATION ENACTED UNDER THE GOVERNOR'S VISION CARE PROGRAM, AND TO PROVIDE THAT FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE RESERVE FOR THE GOVERNOR'S VISION CARE PROGRAM SHALL REVERT TO THE GENERAL FUND.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Section 10.59F of S.L. 2005‑276 is repealed.

SECTION 2. Funds in the Reserve for the Governor's Vision Care Program shall revert to the General Fund on June 30, 2006.

What is the Governor's Vision Care Program and why should we repeal it? Well, we're spending too much money in North Carolina and collecting too many taxes. Just look, we have a $2 Billion surplus. So, what do Republicans suggest we do? Cut programs for children.

Creates a purchase-of-medical care program to fund eye examinations and vision correction for
children in kindergarten through third grade. Funds will reimburse optometrists and
ophthalmologists for services. Children will be eligible for the program with a family income not
exceeding 250% of the federal poverty level, who do not have comparable health insurance, and
are not eligible for Health Choice, Medicaid, or other programs that pay for these services. There
will be Commission on Early Childhood Vision Care that will adopt rules to implement the program
and develop alternative ways for providing services to children who qualify for the Program when
appropriations for the program have been exhausted. Every child entering kindergarten in the
public schools shall obtain a comprehensive eye examination not more than six months prior to
school entry.

Key Points
* Funds eye exams and vision correction for children in kindergarten through third grade? Why, because we found out a lot of kids get behind the curve because they can't see.
* Funds those with family income up to 250% of the federal poverty level *who* a) do not have similar insurance, b) do not have CHIP, Medeicaid, or any other service for poor people that *already* pays for this service
* Program will determine how to pay for eye exams when the funds are gone.

So, what is the first thing Republicans want to do this year? Cut a program that makes sure every child can see so they have a chance to get ahead in this world. Why? So the state spending will go down and we can cut taxes.

Who is the lovely responsible for this legislation?

Representative Mark W. Hollo (Rep) of District 88. Guess what? We actually have a candidate.

RAY WARREN
68 WAUGH LANE
HIDDENITE NC
28636
(828) 632-3798
trwarren@charter.net

I suggest that if Mr. Warren comes out strongly against Rep. Hollo, he deserves a few of our dollars. If he goes to the media and asks what kind of message it sends to cut vision services for poor children, whether it is the Christian thing to do? We give him some dollars.

Comments

p.s.

What are Democrats doing?

A JOINT RESOLUTION authorizing the 2005 general assembly, regular session 2006, to consider "a bill to be entitled an act amending the wage and hour act of north carolina to raise the state minimum wage to six dollars and fifteen cents per hour."

The differences could never be more clear. Jump, jump, jump on this.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I have rec'd

Very nice find. Amazing.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

This bill is to undo the eye exam requirement

snuck into a budget bill by Jim Black (optometrist, member of professional association).

The bill is to undo the whole thing.

Unless I misunderstand the lawyerees behind: REPEAL THE GOVERNOR'S VISION CARE PROGRAM

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Plus

While Black is killing our Party, how else are you going to know if a child can't see and needs correction?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Thanks for putting the spotlight on this

I guess the Republicans figure anything to do with "eyes" is fair game in the wake of Jim Black's sleazy practices. But that simply points to the difference between us and them. They'd rather score political points, even it if means children suffer.

Umm, is this really the issue you want to highlight?

I don't know, maybe I'm picky. But in light of the many bills submitted , and the likely insanity that the GOP's legislative drafting is going to visit on the state, I don't think I'd be focusing on something like this :

"The effect of this new law is to put an unconstitutional price tag
on admissions to public schools," said Ann Majestic of the North Carolina School Boards Association, a party to the lawsuit. "The law leaves out thousands of families who do not qualify for public assistance."

The law set aside $2 million to help parents pay for exams uncovered by Medicaid or other government programs. Opponents say that won't go very far.

They ask in the lawsuit filed in Wake Superior Court for the law to be declared unconstitutional before an estimated 119,000 children seek entrance into kindergarten for the coming school year. The exams must be performed within six months of the start of school, so the window to perform exams opens next week.

While Gov. Mike Easley is listed among the lawsuit's defendants, the largest booster of the "Governor's Vision Care Program" has been House Speaker Jim Black, a Charlotte-area optometrist. The program was inserted into the House version of the budget last June and passed without even a public hearing.

The exam would be conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to check for seven different disorders. As justification for the requirement, Black, D-Mecklenburg, cited a National Institutes for Health study that found that vision problems weren't caught in at least 10 percent of children who received basic screenings.

Black received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from fellow optometrists during the 2003-04 election cycle. A State Board of Elections investigators said earlier this month that Black's campaign and the N.C. State Optometric Society's political action committee appear to have violated the law by filling in the payee line on incomplete checks from committee members. The board hasn't completed its investigation.

-- Boards Sue over Eye Exam, News & Record, February 21, 2006 (http://www.news-record.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060221/NEWSREC0101/6022101

Yes, the bill you cited does cut funding for the program, but it's not noticeably different from Senate Bill (S 1210) sponsored by Julia Boseman and John Snow, and co-sponsored by Tony Rand. It reads thusly:

AN ACT to repeal the mandate that children entering kindergarten obtain a comprehensive eye examination, the governor's vision care program, and the Governor's commission on early childhood vision care; and to provide that funds appropriated to the reserve for the governor's vision care program shall revert to the general fund.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Section 10.59F of S.L. 2005‑276, as amended by Section 20 of S.L. 2005‑345, and Part 34 of Article 3 of Chapter 143B of the General Statutes are repealed.

SECTION 2. Effective June 30, 2006, funds in the Reserve for the Governor's Vision Care Program shall revert to the General Fund.

SECTION 3. Except as otherwise provided in this act, this act is effective when it becomes law.

ARe you going to start campagining against these Democrats as well?

the forced eye exam

the purpose of this bill appears to be to repeal the mandatory full eye exam (read: eye doctor full employment act) which Black passed and has gotten huge criticism.

Including lots of criticism

from around these parts. If that's the narrow focus of this bill, it seems like a good move to me. The next step would be to 'repeal' the person who muscled it through from his Speaker status.