Article 3 - Board of Optometry

§ 34-22-40. Creation; composition; qualifications of members; terms of office; appointment; election of candidates; vacancies; removal of members; annual meeting.

In order to accomplish the purposes and to provide for the enforcement of this chapter, there is created the Alabama board of optometry. The board may implement and enforce this chapter. On October 10, 1975, the state board of optometry as then constituted shall be abolished, but the members thereof shall serve as members of the Alabama board of optometry created by this section and shall continue to serve until their present terms of appointment expire, as set out below. The membership of the board shall be inclusive and reflect the racial, gender, geographic, urban/rural, and economic diversity of the state. Until October 1, 1992, the Alabama board of optometry shall consist of five persons, no two of whom shall reside in the same U.S. Congressional district. On October 1, 1993, two additional members shall be appointed to the board. The board shall then be composed of seven members, one from each United States Congressional District as follows:

The members shall be persons licensed to practice optometry in this state, each of whom shall be a resident of this state, who shall have been actively engaged in the practice of optometry for at least five years next preceeding the date of their appointment, The term of one member of the board shall expire October 1, 1975, and every fifth year thereafter; the term of one member shall expire October 1, 1976, and every fifth year thereafter; the term of one member shall expire October 1, 1977, and every fifth year thereafter; the term of one member shall expire October 1, 1978, and every fifth year thereafter; the term of one member shall expire October 1, 1979, and every fifth year thereafter; the term of two additional members shall begin on October 1, 1993, and expire October 1, 1998, and every fifth year thereafter. Each member of the board shall be appointed by the governor from a list of five names of qualified persons certified to him or her by the board.

When the term of any member of the board expires, that person shall continue to serve until his or her successor is appointed and qualified.

For the purpose of preparing the list of five names, the board shall conduct an annual meeting at least 30 days prior to October 1 of each year, at which all optometrists licensed to practice and holding a current annual registration certificate pursuant to this chapter may attend, nominate, and vote. The board may regulate and prescribe the place and hour of the meeting, the method of nomination, and the manner of voting. Each optometrist in attendance may vote for those persons duly nominated, and no cumulative or proxy voting shall be permitted. Each optometrist voting shall vote for five nominees in order for his or her ballot to be valid, and any ballot indicating votes for more or less than five nominees shall be null and void. The five persons receiving the greatest number of votes of those in attendance at the meeting shall be the five persons whose names shall be certified to the governor for appointment to the board, without substitution. In order for a person to withdraw from the list, the person must do so in writing and present it to the secretary of the board prior to the submission of the list to the governor, after eliminating the person withdrawing from the list, and the list shall be composed solely of those names remaining. At least 30 days prior to the meeting the board shall mail notices to each optometrist licensed to practice and holding a current annual registration certificate pursuant to this chapter at the address shown on his or her current registration notifying each optometrist of the exact date, place, and hour of the meeting, the purpose of the meeting, and of the right to attend and vote. In the event of a vacancy prior to the next annual meeting, the governor shall fill the vacancy from the remaining names on the list. The governor may remove any member for neglect of duty, incompetency, improper or unprofessional conduct, or having his or her license revoked or suspended.

Effective October 1, 1984, no person may serve more than two consecutive terms on the board. Time served on the board prior to October 1, 1984, shall not count toward this limitation.

§ 34-22-41. Officers; meetings; quorum; compensation; expenses; deposit and expenditure of funds; bonds; surety; annual report.

(a) The board shall choose one of its members as president, one as vice-president, and one as secretary-treasurer, who each may administer oaths and take affidavits, certifying thereto under their hand and the common seal of the board.

(b) The board shall meet at least once in each year in the city of Montgomery or in a place designated by the president and, in addition thereto, whenever and wherever the president thereof calls a meeting. A majority of the board shall at all times constitute a quorum. The secretary of the board shall keep a full record of the proceedings of the board, which shall at all reasonable times be open to public inspection.

(c) Each member of the board shall be reimbursed at the same per diem and travel allowance amounts paid by law to state employees for each day of attendance upon the business of the board and, in addition thereto, the sum of one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) per diem for each day actually spent by each member upon the business of the board. All expenses and per diem shall be paid out of the receipts of the board under this chapter. The secretary shall receive compensation as fixed by the board and shall be the custodian of all records and the official seal of the board.

(d) All money received by the board shall be deposited to the credit of the board in a bank selected by its members for the use of the board, and the execution and enforcement of this chapter and the payment of salaries, expenses, and other authorized costs shall be paid by checks drawn by the treasurer and countersigned by the president or executive director of the board.

(e) The president, executive director, and treasurer shall give such bonds as the board from time to time directs.

(f) The board shall make an annual report of its proceedings to the governor on the first Monday of January of each year.

§ 34-22-42. Powers and duties generally.

The board shall exercise and perform, subject to this chapter, each of the following powers and duties:

(1) Conduct examinations at least once each year to ascertain the qualifications and fitness of applicants for licenses to practice optometry.

(2) Prescribe rules and regulations for conducting and administering and examination of applicants for licensing as optometrists and to effectuate this chapter.

(3) Institute, upon a complaint or petition, hearings of charges against licensed optometrists or other persons as provided in this chapter.

(4) Institute legal proceedings for violations of this chapter.

(5) Grant and deny licenses in conformity with this chapter, including applications for approval to use pharmaceutical agents.

(6) Formulate rules and regulations by which the board shall determine which optometry schools and colleges in or out of the State of Alabama have been duly accredited by a recognized and properly authorized accrediting agency and which accredited schools or colleges shall be approved by the board.

(7) Establish standards of continuing education which shall be deemed a requisite to the renewal of licenses of applicants who are otherwise qualified to practice optometry in the State of Alabama.

(8) Keep a register of optometrists containing the names and addresses of all persons to whom license certificates, temporary licenses, approvals for use of pharmaceutical agents, and limited licenses have been issued in the State of Alabama, the date of issuance, the place or places of business in which each optometrist is engaged, and all renewals, revocations, and suspensions of licenses and certification.

(9) Administer oaths and affirmations of witnesses, issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of all necessary papers, books, records, documentary evidence, and materials in any hearing, investigation, or other proceeding before the board.

(10) Employ or appoint an executive director, clerical personnel, and legal advisors or counsel to assist in implementing this chapter when there is a need for those services and when funds are available for those purposes. The executive director may be a licensed optometrist in this state, but may not, while serving as the executive director, also serve as a member of the board of optometry. The executive director shall not be subject to the State Merit System.

(11) Prescribe rules and regulations establishing a program of internship as a requisite to application for license, if the board deems such a program advisable.

(12) Prescribe rules and regulations establishing circumstances and conditions upon which temporary licenses may be issued by the board and the terms and conditions of the temporary licenses.

(13) Prescribe rules and regulations subject to the limitations of this act for the utilization of methods or means of treatment recognized as being within the scope of the practice of optometry.

(14) Prescribe rules and regulations subject to the limitations of this act necessary for the performance of eye care procedures reasonably necessary to the treatment of conditions or disease of the human eye and its adjacent structures.

§ 34-22-43. Registry of licenses; records and office of board.

(a) The secretary of the board shall keep a registry in which shall be entered the names of all persons to whom temporary licenses, limited licenses, license certificates, approvals for the use of pharmaceutical agents, and annual registration certificates have been granted under this chapter, the numbers of the license certificates and annual registration certificates, the dates of granting the same, and other matters of record and shall keep a true and correct copy of the minutes of all board meetings, and the book so provided and kept shall be the official book of records.

(b) A photostatic copy of the records, or a copy of the records certified by the secretary and under the seal of the board, shall be admitted in any of the courts of this state as prima facie evidence of the facts contained in the records and in lieu of the original records.

(c) A certificate under the hand of the secretary and the seal of the board that there is not entered in the record books the name, number of, and date of granting the license certificate or renewal license certificate to a person charged with a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. The certificates shall be admitted in any of the courts of this state in lieu of the records of the board.

(d) The original books, records, and papers of the board shall be kept at the office of the secretary of the board, which office shall be at a place designated by the board.

(e) Upon the payment of a reasonable fee established from time to time by the board, the secretary of the board shall mail a copy of the most recent registry to any person requesting it.