Issue 6 - Referendum on Act 579 - An Act to Amend the Definition of Optometry
Struck from Ballot
The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Sept. 17, 2020 that Issue 6 did not qualify for the ballot because of problems with paperwork certifying that canvassers had passed required background checks. The signatures collected by those canvassers could not be counted, the court ruled. Therefore sponsors did not have the required voter signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the ballot. Read the court rulings online.
Issue 6 may still appear on ballots due to the time ballots were printed or programmed. Votes cast for/against the issue will not be counted.
Know before you vote
On Election Day, you will see only the popular name and title of each ballot issue proposal. Want to read the rest of it? Here's a link to Act 579.
What's being proposed?
Voters are being asked whether they want to keep or repeal a new law (Act 579) legislators passed in 2019 allowing optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures they are educated about but that they were not allowed to perform under previous state law.
If kept in place by voters, Act 579 would:
- Expand the definition of the practice of optometry to include certain eye procedures that previously were prohibited for optometrists under state law.
- Allow optometrists to use ophthalmic lasers for some surgical procedures. Prior to Act 579, state law did not allow optometrists to use ophthalmic lasers for any surgical procedures.
- Require the State Board of Optometry to create a licensing process for optometrists to use ophthalmic lasers for the specific surgeries listed in Act 579.
- Require optometrists who are certified to do the surgeries listed in Act 579 to submit reports to the State Board of Optometry on the outcomes of their treatments. The reports must also be sent to the Department of Health.
How did this issue get on the ballot?
Arkansas' Constitution allows the public to petition for a statewide vote on an act passed by the state legislature. Known as a referendum, this type of statewide ballot measure asks voters for approval or rejection of a new state law. A vote in favor keeps the law; A vote against would repeal the law.
Safe Surgery Arkansas submitted more than 53,491 valid voter signatures on a referendum
petition to the Secretary of State's Office for a vote on Act 579 of the 2019 legislative
session. The referendum is being challenged in court.
Who is supporting or opposing this measure?
Opponents and supporters that spend money to campaign are required to register with the Arkansas Ethics Commission as aballot or legislative question committee. Visit the Commission's website to view these filings, which include names of people behind a group and how much money has been raised or spent.