Safe Surgery Arkansas Short On Signatures

Eye Surgery

The Arkansas Secretary of State’s office said that an effort to add a ballot referendum that would overturn a law expanding the scope of practice for optometrists has fallen short of the required signatures to qualify.

Secretary of State John Thurston said the organizers of the effort, Safe Surgery Arkansas, only submitted 23,953 valid signatures. It needed more than 53,491 valid signatures to qualify as an initiated act on the 2020 ballot. Thurston ruled in July that Safe Surgery Arkansas did not properly submit paperwork related to petition gatherers under a new law that sets requirements prior to signature collections. Subsequently, he disqualified some of the signatures turned in by the group.

The law in question allows optometrists to perform limited eye surgeries. The legislature approved the measure in the regular session earlier this year. Safe Surgery Arkansas represents the state’s ophthalmologists who opposed the new law and were pushing for the ballot referendum. A representative for the group said to expect a legal appeal of the Secretary of State’s decision.      MORE

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