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in the District of Columbia
COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
H. R. 278 and H. R. 5238
BILLS TO REGULATE THE PRACTICE OF OPTOMETRY
IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Printed for the use of the Committee on the District of Columbia
COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
JENNINGS RANDOLPH, West Virginia, Chairman AMBROSE J. KENNEDY, Maryland
EVERETT M. DIRKSEN, Illinois WILLIAM T. SCHULTE, Indiana
GEORGE J. BATES, Massachusetts JACK NICHOLS, Oklahoma
PAUL W. SHAFER, Michigan DAN R. MCGEHEE, Mississippi
STEPHEN BOLLES, Wisconsin JOE B, BATES, Kentucky
ALBERT L. VREELAND, New Jersey WILLIAM D. BYRON, Maryland
JAMES SECCOMBE, Ohio PIUS L. SCHWERT, New York
HARRY SANDAGER, Rhode Island JOSEPH A. MCARDLE, Pennsylvania FRANK W. FRIES, Illinois HERMAN P. EBERHARTER, Pennsylvania RUDOLPH G. TENEROWICZ, Michigan WILLIAM R. POAGE, Texas JOHN F. HUNTER, Ohio
SUBCOMMITTEE ON PUBLIC HEALTH, HOSPITALS, AND CHARITIES
JOE B. BATES, Kentucky, Chairman WILLIAM T. SCHULTE, Indiana
PAUL W. SHAFER, Michigan WILLIAM D. BYRON, Maryland
ALBERT L. VREELAND, New Jersey RUDOLPH G. TENEROWICZ, Maryland HARRY SANDAGER, Rhode Island
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
AUG 16 1939
TO REGULATE THE PRACTICE OF OPTOMETRY IN THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 1939
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The Subcommittee on Public Health, Hospitals, and Charities of the Committee on the District of Columbia met in the committee room, Old House Office Building, at 10:30 a. m., the Hon. Joe B. Bates, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.
Also present : Hon. William T. Schulte, Hon. William D. Byron, and Hon. Rudolph G. Tenerowicz, members; and Hon. Jack Nichols and Hon. Howard W. Smith, authors of the bills.
Mr. BATES. The hearing will please come to order.
The hearing starting this morning is on H. R. 278, a bill introduced by Mr. Smith of Virginia, "To regulate the practice of optometry in the District of Columbia"; and,
A bill introduced by Mr. Nichols of Oklahoma, H. R. 5238, “To regulate the practice of optometry in the District of Columbia.”
Without objection, the bills will be inserted in the record.
[H. R. 278, 76th Cong., 1st sess.)
A BILL To regulate the practice of optometry in the District of Columbia
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. That the practice of optometry is defined as the science and art devoted to the examination of the eyes, the analysis of the ocular functions and the employment of preventive or corrective optometric methods and agents for the relief of visual and ocular anomalies.
SEC. 2. That in order to safeguard life and health, any person practicing, offering, undertaking, or holding himself out as being able to practice optometry in the District of Columbia shall be licensed as hereinafter provided. A license to practice optometry heretofore duly issued, pursuant to law and valid when this Act is enacted, shall serve the same purpose as and is hereby declared to be the license required by this Act, and the holder of such valid license heretofore duly issued shall be considered to be a person licensed under the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 3. That the Commissioners of the District of Columbia shall appoint a Board of Optometry consisting of five persons. Notwithstanding anything herein contained, the present members of the Board of Optometry shall continue in office as the first members of the Board of Optometry herein established, until their respective terms expire. Each member of the Board of Optometry shall be selected from a list of optometrists submitted by a majority vote at a regular meeting of the District of Columbia Optometric Society, which list shall contain not less than two names for each member to be ap
pointed. Each member of the Board shall be a citizen of the United States, over the age of twenty-one years, actually engaged in the practice of optometry as defined in section 1 of this Act, and shall have been engaged in the actual and continuous practice of the same in the District of Columbia for at least three years next preceding his appointment. As the terms of the present members of the Board of Optometry expire, the Commissioners shall appoint a successor or successors to serve for a term of three years; and in case of death, resignation or removal of any member, the vacancy for the unexpired term shall be filled by the said Commissioners in the same manner as other appointments.
Each appointee to the Board of Optometry as hereinbefore provided for shall, within fifteen days from the date of his appointment, qualify by subscribing to the following oath of office before any office authorized to administer oaths in the District of Columbia : “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully, impartially, with fidelity, and according to law, perform the duties of a member of the Board of Optometry of the District of Columbia, to the best of my ability, so help me God.”
Upon such oath being filed with the Commissioners, they shall issue to said member a certificate of his appointment.
The Commissioners are herewith vested with authority to remove from office at any time any member of said Board for neglect of duty, incompetency, improper conduct, or when the license to practice optometry of any member of said Board shall have been suspended or revoked.
SEC. 4. That the Board of Optometry shall hold an annual meeting and at such annual meeting shall organize by electing a president, a vice president, and a secretary-treasurer, who shall hold office for one year or until their respective successors have been appointed and have qualified. Said Board shall hold a meeting at the end of six months after the annual meeting at such hour and place as it may designate for the examination of applicants for license to practice optometry in the District of Columbia and for the transaction of such other business as may legally come before it. The Board may hold such additional meetings upon the call of the president or a majority of the members of said Board as may become necessary for the examination of applicants for licenses or for carrying into effect the provisions of this Act. Three members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and should a quorum not be present on the day appointed for any meeting, those present may adjourn from time to time until a quorum be present.
The Board shall have power to appoint from its membership committees, the duties of which shall be to consider such matters pertaining to the enforcement of this Act and the regulations promulgated in accordance therewith as shall be referred to them and to make recommendations to the Board with respect thereto. The Board, any committee, or any member thereof, shall be entitled to the services of the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia, and shall have the power to issue subpenas and subpenas duces tecum to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records and documents, to administer oaths, and to take testimony concerning all matters within its or his jurisdiction. The Board shall not be bound by strict rules of procedure or by the laws of evidence in the conduct of its proceedings but the determination shall be founded upon sufficient legal evidence to sustain it. The Board shall have the right to institute an action in its own name to enjoin the violation of any of the provisions of this Act or the regulations promulgated in accordance therewith and in such connection a temporary injunction may be granted. The said action for an injunction shall be in addition to any other action, proceeding, or remedy authorized by law. The Board shall also have power, subject to the approval of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, to make such rules and regulations not inconsistent with laws as may be necessary for the performance of its duties, the regulation of the practice of optometry and the enforcement of this Act.
Before entering upon the discharge of the duties of his office the secretarytreasurer of the Board shall give such bond for the performance of his duties as the Commissioners of the District of Columbia shall require, the premium of such bond to be paid from the funds in the possession of the Board.
The secretary-treasurer shall receive as compensation for his services an annual salary to be determined by the Board, which salary and all other expenses of the Board necessary in carrying out the provisions of this Act shall be paid from the funds in the custody of the secretary-treasurer for the use of the Board upon requisition signed by the secretary-treasurer and countersigned by the president of the Board; and on the 30th day of June of each year
if any surplus remains the members of the Board shall be paid such reasonable compensation out of the funds in the custody of the Board as the Commissioners of the District of Columbia may determine: Provided, however, That said compensation and expenses shall not exceed the amount received by the Board under the provisions of this Act.
The Board shall adopt an official seal and license of suitable design and shall have an office in the District of Columbia where examinations shall be held and where all of the permanent records shall be kept. It shall keep a record of its proceedings, of all licenses issued and licenses by it revoked. Its records shall be open to public inspection between the hours of nine and three o'clock of any business day, and it shall keep on file all examination papers for a period of one year after each examination. A transcript of an entry in such records, certified by the secretary-treasurer, under the seal of the Board, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. The Board shall on or before the 10th day of July in each year make a report to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia of its official acts during the preceding twelve months ending June 30, and of its receipts and disbursements, and a full and complete report of the conditions pertaining to optometry in the District of Columbia.
SEC. 5. That every person desiring to practice optometry in the District of Columbia shall be required to pass the licensing examination given by the Board of Optometry. The applicant shall file with the secretary-treasurer of the Board an application blank to be furnished by said secretary-treasurer accompanied by the recommendation of two reputable citizens, verified by oath, setting forth the facts and information hereinafter required. The Board shall admit to the examination any applicant who pays the fee of $25 and submits satisfactory evidence to it that he is over the age of 21 years; is of good moral character; is a citizen of the United States or has duly declared his intention of becoming such citizen; has had a preliminary education equivalent to a four-year course in a first-grade high school (which shall be determined either by examination or by certificate acceptable to the Board as to the work done in such approved institution), and who has attended and graduated from a school or college of optometry which is approved by the said Board of Optometry.
The said Board of Optometry shall from time to time establish minimum standards of pre-professional and professional education in the science of optometry and may from time to time establish minimum standards for schools or colleges of optometry in the District of Columbia. It may determine whether pre-professional and professional schools or colleges of optometry in the District of Columbia, attain such standards. The said Board of Optometry shall give no credit for any certificate, diploma, or degree emanating from any school not approved by the said Board; all with the approval of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. The Board, with the approval of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, is authorized and empowered to alter, amend, and otherwise change the educational requirements at any time, but in altering, amending, or changing said requirements the Board shall not lower the same. In case of failure, the applicant, after the expiration of six months and within two years, shall have the privilege of taking a second examination without the payment of an additional fee.
An applicant for a license who has been examined by the Board of Optometry in any of the States of the United States which, through reciprocity, similarly accredits the holder of a license issued by the Board of Optometry of the District of Columbia to the full privileges of practice within such State may, on the payment of a fee of $25, to the said Board, and on filing in the office of the Board a true and attested copy of said license, certified by the president and secretary-treasurer of the said Board, showing the same and also showing that the standard of requirements adopted and enforced by said Board is equal to that provided by this Act, shall, without further examination, receive the license: Provided, That such applicant has not previously failed at any examination held by the Board of Optometry of the District of Columbia : And provided further, That the Board of Optometry of the District of Columbia is hereby not required to issue any such reciprocity license, if in its discretion such applicant does not meet all the requirements of other applicants for licenses to practice optometry in the District of Columbia : And provided further, That before an applicant from another State can make application for a reciprocity license he shall have been in reputable and personal practice at least five years prior to his application.