Reactions to State Question 793 vote

Published: Nov. 7, 2018 at 10:00 PM CST
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LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) -Oklahomans rejected four of the five state questions on Tuesday’s ballot, including 793 dealing with retail optometry and amending the state constitution.

Optometrist Richard Swales has been practicing for 43 years and opened Vision Source in Lawton in 1975.

He opposed state question 793 and said he’s thankful voters agreed with him.

“The people that stepped up and voted no saved our profession and saved eye care in Oklahoma," said Swales.

He said if the question would have passed it would have allowed corporations to limit a doctor's practice.

He also said the standard of care would have been reduced.

However, Yes on 793 Campaign spokesman Joshua Harlow said he still believes people wanted optometrists in a retail setting but changed their minds for two reasons.

“In terms of the constitutional issues, changing the constitution and the scope of practice," said Harlow. "So, we’re going to go back to the drawing board. We are not finished here.”

He said their plan now is to go to the legislature as they’ve done in the past, continue to work with optometrists and the public.

“If that means we do a statutory change in the legislature instead of a constitutional change and work on some compromise language then we’re more than willing to do so,” said Harlow.

Swales said his hope is that the issue finally comes to an end.

“We want to continue to improve eye care in Oklahoma and across the country with good quality face-to-face eye exams with qualified professionals," said Swales.

However, Harlow said they have other plans.

“There’s an opportunity for us to work with the legislature and work with the other side and to come to an agreement on something and really do what’s best for Oklahomans," said Harlow.

Voters in the state were nearly evenly divided on the issue. It was decided by just under half a percent.

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