02/16/06 — Pate says he expects repeal of eye-exam law

View Archive

Pate says he expects repeal of eye-exam law

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 16, 2006 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- State Rep. Louis Pate said he expects the General Assembly to repeal a new law that would require children to get a comprehensive eye exam before they can attend kindergarten.

Pate spoke at a meeting of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce this morning.

After the meeting, he discussed the issues involving the speaker of the state House, Jim Black. Black, an optometrist, pushed for the state to require a full eye exam for every student entering the state school system. The law was quietly approved last year.

Black is a Democrat. Pate is a Republican.

Pate said opposition to the requirement is widespread, including, from school administrators to the state school boards' association, and even some ophthalmologists and pediatricians he has talked to. Polls show three out of four respondents feel the law should be repealed, he said.

"They say it's not worth the money to have all those kids come in for the exam," Pate said.

Pate said he also believes the Legisature will approve new regulations governing the lobbying of state government officials. The Black investigation has created momentum on both sides of the aisle for changes, he said.

"Everyone needs backing to run a successful campaign, but no one should not say 'I'll do this for you if you'll help my campaign,'" Pate said. "No one should make promises about what they'll do in exchange for help in campaign financing.

He told the chamber members present that polls show that the state's residents are growing more dissastified with the way lawmakers are conducting business in Raleigh. A recent poll showed 43 percent of voters displeased with the job being done by their elected state officials, Pate said. Only 37 percent said they approve of lawmakers' work. The same poll conducted late last year showed about 50 percent of voters pleased with lawmakers.

That indicates voters want a change, he said.

"I think incumbents have something to worry about," Pate said.