LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) — An Arkansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit trying to prevent a referendum this fall on a new law expanding the procedures that optometrists can perform.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday by Arkansans for Healthy Eyes, which is a group opposed to the referendum effort. The lawsuit claimed the referendum wasn’t approved under the correct process.
The new law allows optometrists to perform several procedures that previously only ophthalmologists could perform.
The state Supreme Court last week said it wouldn’t reconsider its ruling that state election officials must count thousands of signatures submitted for the proposed referendum.
STATEMENT FROM ARKANSANS FOR HEALTHY EYES ON CIRCUIT COURT RULING
“We’re still weighing our options moving forward. The legal issues in this case are complex, but the underlying facts remain simple. The opposition group didn’t follow the law- ANY law- in its effort to put this measure on the ballot.”Vicki Farmer, chairperson for the Arkansans for Healthy Eyes Ballot Question Committee.
The Supreme Court says Pre-Act 376 law was in place. That law requires a petition’s ballot title to be certified by the Attorney General before signature gathering begins, and the opposition group never did that, either. There are still a lot of questions surrounding the petition process in this case. We are committed to getting those answered, and to ensuring Act 579- a law that will benefit patients in all parts of the state- remains in place,” said Farmer.
STATEMENT FROM SAFE SURGERY ARKANSAS ATTORNEY, ALEX GRAY
“Judge Griffen’s dismissal of this lawsuit just a few days after it was filed shows this group is grasping at straws to block Arkansas residents from voting on an issue important to the eye health and safety of all Arkansans. Almost 90 percent of Arkansas voters don’t want non-medical doctors like optometrists performing eye surgeries. We will continue our fight to ensure the people’s voice is heard.”Alex Gray, attorney for Safe Surgery Arkansas