Senate Research Center   S.B. 931
77R5419 JMM-FBy: Moncrief
Health & Human Services
As Filed


Current law does not permit anyone except physicians, optometrists, or
their employees to dispense contact lenses.  As proposed, S.B. 931 allows
for mail order dispensation of contact lenses by eliminating legal barriers
such as the requirement for an original prescription. 


This bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a
state officer, institution, or agency.  


SECTION 1.  Amends Chapter 353A, Occupations Code, by adding Sections
353.005 and 353.006, as follows: 

Sec. 353.005.  EXEMPTION FROM OTHER LAWS.  Provides that a permit holder
under this chapter who is not licensed under Subtitle B or Chapter 351 is
exempt from the requirements of those laws as long as the permit holder is
in compliance with this chapter. 

 Sec. 353.006.  DIGITAL SIGNATURE.  (a)  Defines "digital signature."

(b)  Provides that a written electronic communication sent from or received
in this state in connection with a transaction governed by this chapter is
considered signed if a digital signature is transmitted with the

(c)  Provides that this section does not preclude any symbol from being
valid as a signature under other applicable law. 

(d)  Provides that the use of a digital signature under this chapter is
subject to criminal laws relating to fraud and computer crimes, including
Chapters 32 (Fraud) and 33 (Computer Crimes), Penal Code. 

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 353.051, Occupations Code, to authorize a
business entity that holds a contact lens dispensing permit issued under
this subchapter to dispense contact lenses. 

SECTION 3.  Amends Section 353.101, Occupations Code, to prohibit a person
other than the prescribing physician, optometrist, or therapeutic
optometrist from filling a contact lens prescription or selling or
dispensing contact lenses to a consumer in this state unless the person
receives a contact lens prescription, rather than an original contact lens
prescription, that has not expired and that conforms to the requirements of
this chapter; or has verified or attempted to verify the consumer's contact
lens prescription. 

SECTION 4.  Amends Section 353.104, Occupations Code, as follows:

 Sec. 353.104.  New heading:  REQUEST FOR PRESCRIPTION REFILL OR
VERIFICATION.  Requires a physician, optometrist, or therapeutic
optometrist, if a patient or an agent of the patient requests a refill or
verification of the patient's contact lens prescription, to provide the
prescription or verification, rather than may telephone or fax the
prescription, to a person authorized to dispense contact lenses under
Section 353.051.  Requires the prescription or verification record to
include certain information, if known, of the physician, optometrist, or
therapeutic optometrist.  Makes conforming changes. 

SECTION 5.  Amends Section 353.152, Occupations Code, to delete text
requiring that a contact lens prescription be written and contain:  the
original signature of the physician, optometrist, or therapeutic
optometrist; and, in the case of disposable contact lenses, the total
number of lenses authorized to be issued under the prescription.   

SECTION 6.  Amends Section 353.153, Occupations Code, to prohibit a
physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist from issuing a contact
lens prescription that expires before the second, rather than first,
anniversary of the date the patient's prescription parameters are
determined, with exceptions. 

SECTION 7.  Amends Section 353.154, Occupations Code, to make a conforming

SECTION 8.  Amends Section 353.155(b), Occupations Code, to make a
conforming change. 

SECTION 9.  Amends Section 353.156, Occupations Code, to require a
physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist who performs an eye
examination and fits a patient for contact lenses to prepare and give a
contact lens prescription to the patient.  Requires the physician or
optometrist who issued a prescription to provide the prescription to the
patient or the patient's agent and to verify the patient's prescription at
any time during which the prescription is valid.  Provides that if the
prescribing physician or optometrist fails to respond to a request for
verification of a prescription within a medically reasonable time, the
prescription previously provided to the patient or agent is considered to
be valid. Requires a health care professional who sells contact lenses to
post a sign in plain view of the area in which payment for the lenses is to
be made and having a certain sized font the following statement: "YOU HAVE
FITTING OF YOUR CONTACTS."  Deletes text regarding a request for a
prescription, the physician or optometrist determining the prescription,
and a request from a patient without an original prescription. 

SECTION 10.  Amends Section 353.157, Occupations Code, to authorize a
physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist to exclude categories of
contact lenses from a contact lens prescription only if the exclusion is
clinically indicated.  Authorizes a physician or optometrist to refuse to
release a contact lens prescription under certain circumstances.  Makes
conforming changes. 

SECTION 11.  Amends Section 353.158, Occupations Code, to prohibit a
physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist from failing or refusing
to respond to a request for verification of a prescription if the
prescription information submitted for verification contains an error. 

SECTION 12.  Amends Section 353.204(b), Occupations Code, to provide that,
except as otherwise provided by this section, the Texas Board of Health
(board) is solely responsible for enforcing this chapter and for enforcing
Subtitle B and Chapter 351 with respect to an alleged violation by a
business that holds a permit under Section 353.052. 

SECTION 13.  Amends Chapter 353E, Occupations Code, by adding Section
353.2041, as follows: 

Sec. 353.2041.  DEFENSE TO ENFORCEMENT OR OTHER ACTION.  Provides that it
is a complete defense to any action against a permit holder under this
chapter that the permit holder was prevented from complying with a
provision of this chapter as a result of the refusal by a physician,
optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist, or an agent of such an individual,
to verify a  prescription or to provide prescription information required
under this chapter. 

SECTION 14.  Effective date: September 1, 2001.
   Makes application of this Act prospective.