Sacramento, CA—After years of operating in violation of California law, corporate opticial companies are fighting to pass a bill that would prevent the state from coming after them.
AB 684 essentially hits the pause button on the enforcement of the California laws that companies like LensCrafters, Walmart, Costco, and others are breaking regarding the landlord-tenant relationships these companies have with their optometrists. It has been suggested that this pause in enforcement would then give the companies time to get the laws changed.
The California Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to take a vote on the bill on Thursday, August 27.
The California Optometric Association (COA) is firmly against AB 684 and is urging its members to contact the state legislature. The bill, it says, would be bad for doctors, consumers, and patient care.
“The bill was placed in the ‘suspense’ file. On Thursday when the suspense file is taken up, AB 684 may or may not be amended with COA’s language we have worked out with every major stakeholder except LensCrafters,” says David Redman, OD, legislation and regulation committee chair of the COA. “LensCrafters continues to insist on maintaining its ability to employ doctors.
“If you watch the hearing, several lawmakers on the committee had concerns with AB 684 in its current form,” Dr. Redman says. “I do not think AB 684 has the votes currently to pass out of Appropriations. However, LensCrafters has hired two new lobbying firms just this week, just for this issue. They are pushing for AB 684 to pass as is.”
The hearing can be viewed HERE—fast forward to 1:23:03.
Dr. Redman says that the COA has another lawmaker willing to introduce its compromise language if the proposed amendments are not accepted.
“It would be a ‘gut and amend’ on the Assembly side, where we amend a bill that has passed the Senate with our new language and move it thought the legislative process,” he says. “This all has to happen quickly. The last day of the legislative session is September 11. Anything that doesn’t pass by then becomes a two-year bill.”