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      RS 37:1042     


§1042. Louisiana State Board of Optometry Examiners; appointment; terms of members; protected action and communication

            A. The Louisiana State Board of Optometry Examiners is created within the Louisiana Department of Health and is subject to the provisions of R.S. 36:803. This board shall consist of five members who shall be licensed optometrists and shall have practiced optometry in this state for seven years and one consumer member.

            B. Each licensed optometrist member of the board shall be appointed by the governor from a list of three names submitted to him by the board. The governor shall ensure that his appointments demonstrate race, gender, ethnic, and geographical diversity. For the purpose of preparing the list of three names, the board shall conduct an annual meeting on a date in June set by the board annually, at which all optometrists licensed under the laws of Louisiana shall have the right to attend, nominate and vote. The board shall have the authority to regulate and prescribe the place and hour of the meeting, the method of nomination, and the manner of voting. Each optometrist in attendance shall have the right to vote for those persons duly nominated and no cumulative or proxy voting shall be permitted. Each optometrist voting must vote for three nominees in order for his ballot to be valid, and any ballot indicating votes for more or less than three nominees shall be null and void. The three persons receiving the greatest number of votes of those in attendance at the meeting shall be the three persons whose names shall be submitted to the governor for appointment to the board. At least thirty days prior to the meeting the board shall mail notices to each optometrist licensed under the laws of Louisiana at the address shown in his current registration notifying each optometrist of the exact date, place and hour of the meeting, the purpose of the meeting and of his right to attend and vote. The consumer member may apply directly to the office of the governor.

            C.(1) The consumer member shall be selected from the state at large and appointed by the governor. The consumer member of the board shall possess all of the following qualifications:

            (a) Is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident of Louisiana for at least one year immediately prior to appointment.

            (b) Has attained the age of majority.

            (c) Shall not have ever been licensed by any of the licensing boards identified in R.S. 36:259(A), nor shall he have a spouse who has ever been licensed by a board identified in R.S. 36:259(A).

            (d) Has never been convicted of a felony.

            (e) Shall not have nor shall ever have had a material financial interest in the healthcare profession.

            (2) The consumer member shall be a full voting member of the board with all rights and privileges conferred on board members, except that the consumer member shall not participate in the grading of individual examinations.

            D. Each appointment by the governor shall be subject to Senate confirmation. The term of each member shall be five years, but vacancies occurring during the term of a member shall be filled for the unexpired term by an optometrist possessing the qualifications for board membership, nominated by the remaining members of the board and appointed by the governor from that nomination. A vacancy in the consumer position shall be filled with another consumer.

            E. There shall be no liability on the part of and no action for damages against any of the following persons:

            (1) Any member of the board, or its agents or employees, for any action undertaken or performed by such person within the scope of the duties, powers, and functions of the board or such examining committee as provided for in this Chapter when such person is acting without malice and in the reasonable belief that the action taken by him is warranted.

            (2) Any person providing information to the board, its agents or employees, whether a witness, or otherwise, unless such information is false and the person providing it knew that such information was false.

            F. In any suit brought against the board, its employees or agents, or any person or entity providing information to the board, when the defendant substantially prevails in such suit, the court shall, at the conclusion of the action, award to the defendant and assess against the claimant the cost of defending the suit attributable to such claim, including reasonable attorney fees, if the claim, or the claimant's conduct during the litigation of the claim, was either frivolous, unreasonable, without foundation, or in bad faith. For the purpose of this Subsection, a defendant shall not be considered to have substantially prevailed when the claimant obtains an award for damages or permanent injunctive or declaratory relief.

            Amended by Acts 1974, No. 442, §1; Acts 1977, No. 684, §11; Acts 2003, No. 987, §1; Acts 2011, No. 149, §1; Acts 2018, No. 515, §2.

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