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President’s Message

Thomas Blair, Jr., LDO, ABOM

Fall/Winter 2017

As presumably many of you have heard, there are significant changes in force regarding the Georgia Opticianry License renewal process. As of 1 April 2017 the GSBDO (Georgia State Board of Dispensing Opticians) within its authority changed board rule 420-9-.01 to now require a one hour Georgia law continuing education class as part of the license renewal process. Additionally, the board has limited the providers of online continuing education courses for license renewal. According to the rule change implemented - going forward - the only acceptable provider or sources of online continuing education will be the OAG, OAA, and the NAO. Regardless of various contentions to the contrary, only the state board has the legal authority to declare what is acceptable for continuing education for license renewal. At this writing the OAG is finalizing arrangements to provide online c.e. courses. An official announcement will be forthcoming as soon as possible.

In other areas of interest and concern to organized Opticianry in Georgia and elsewhere, an organization known as the NAOO (National Association of Optometrists and Opticians) on the 3rd of October 2017 submitted a letter of inquiry to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requesting this agency investigate - for the purpose of regulatory relief - all state Opticianry Licensure Laws where such laws exist. The apparent motive of this inquiry is the desire of major optical retailers to create an “expedited” pathway to licensure nationwide for the primary purpose of increasing “job mobility”. On the surface this objective sounds reasonable enough. However, as with most issues where one stands on a matter, depends on where one sits. At the heart of this issue in the observation of many knowledgeable observers, is this organization’s disingenuous attempt to diminish or even eliminate licensure laws behind a façade of promoting a “pro-growth” business agenda. In plainer English this posturing is all about nothing more than creating and maintaining a cheap labor work force. There is significantly more definitive and substantive information available about this and other related matters upon request to the OAG. The takeaway from such revelations is to make the case for why your state association is essential to your professional welfare and job status. Contrary to naïve belief licensure laws in Opticianry, as well as many other occupations, frequently come under legislative assault by well financed and increasingly politically sophisticated big money interests. To take the “Ostrich” approach and bury one’s head in the sand is to a larger extent exactly what these big business special interests want. Obviously, we are all busy with the various aspects of our lives. Yet to not pay attention to the circumstances that surround how we make a living in our chosen field of endeavor is the height of folly. This is analogous to an old sailor’s adage: “He who fails to heed the helm will soon heed the rocks.” Obviously one can’t completely avoid the risks of life and living, yet being more vigilant will certainly reduce those risks. Your state association - the OAG - is only as strong as the support it receives from the licensed practitioners who are increasingly vulnerable to the relentless pursuit of de-regulation that is enveloping this field. The next time something legislatively unfavorable in the form of a rule or a law is attempted - and it will happen - it is totally facetious to indignantly ask “why doesn’t somebody do something?” The response question is who is somebody?

There is no such thing as a perfect world, but your support of the OAG can certainly help make for a better professional environment.

Best regards,

Thomas Blair, Jr., LDO, ABOM
President, OAG
678 592-5931 cp
[email protected]

9 Nov 2017


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