Introduced Version Senate Bill 230 History

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Senate Bill No. 230

(By Senators Kessler, Edgell, Bowman, McKenzie,

Minard, Deem, McCabe, Prezioso, Craigo, Jackson, Wooton, Chafin, Hunter, Helmick, Rowe, Oliverio, Anderson, Snyder, Ross, Sharpe, Mitchell, Love, Caldwell, Facemyer, Redd, Burnette, Boley, Minear, Sprouse and Tomblin, Mr. President)


[Introduced January 16, 2002; referred to the Committee

On Education; and then to the Committee on Finance.]


A BILL to amend article twenty, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated section ten, relating to creating the "Better Sight for Better Learning Act"; requiring eye examinations for children prior to enrollment in elementary school; state board of education to promulgate criteria for carrying out the act; and maintaining a list of resources to aid children needing vision examinations or vision corrections by the department of education and the department of health, together with others.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article twenty, chapter eighteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section ten, to read as follows:

Findings and purpose. The Legislature finds that vision plays an important role in the education of children and that an undetected and uncorrected vision impairment is a serious threat to the educational success of a child, particularly when that uncorrected impairment is protracted and occurs at a time when the child is only beginning his or her formal learning experience. And, consequently, the educational failure of every child has a profound impact on the economic well-being of our state and its people. For the benefit of our children and the future of our state, all children should be provided with an eye examination prior to enrolling in elementary school.
(a) Each local board of education or similar body governing a nonpublic school shall require that every individual in an elementary school in this state receive a comprehensive vision examination from a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist before enrolling for the first time in an elementary school under its jurisdiction. The parent or guardian of each child shall receive prior written notice thereof and have a reasonable opportunity to provide for the examination. A local board of education may deny enrollment or continued attendance in a public elementary school to any child who fails to obtain the eye examination required under this section.
Prior to enrollment, each child shall present to school health personnel a written certification by a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist chosen by the child's parents or guardian which indicates the status of the child's vision, any pertinent diagnosis, treatment, recommendations and any necessary follow-up.
(c) The state board of education will promulgate criteria and rules as may be necessary for meeting and enforcing the requirements of this act.
(d) The department of education shall, in conjunction with the department of health, compile and maintain a list of sources to which children of families with limited means might refer for examinations or vision corrections. The sources may include individuals, federal, state and local governments and private programs. The department of education shall ensure that the superintendent of schools, the principal of each elementary school, the school nurse or other person responsible for school health services receives an updated copy of the list each year prior to school opening. Professional and service organizations concerned with vision health may assist in gathering and disseminating the information at the direction of the department of education.
(e) The requirements of this section will take effect for the school year beginning in two thousand two. Children enrolled prior to this time are exempt from the provisions of this section.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to compel that a professional eye examination be performed on the eyes of each child in this state prior to enrollment in grade school.

This section is new; therefore, underlining and strike-throughs have been omitted.

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