Optometrist prescriptions: Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that will allow optometrists to prescribe oral medications, ending a long-running lobbying battle about the issue. Lawmakers approved the bill (HB 239) after optometrists and ophthalmologists reached a compromise that includes allowing optometrists to prescribe 14 oral medications, such as antibiotics and anti-glaucoma drugs.
Optometrists already have been able to prescribe “topical” drugs, such as drops and creams, but proposals to expand those powers to oral medications ran into years of opposition from ophthalmologists. In a news release, Ken Lawson, legislative chairman of the Florida Optometric Association, said the bill will help expand access to eye care.
“The end result of this legislation represents a thoroughly-vetted, collective effort on behalf of all impacted parties that will allow Floridians to get the most appropriate treatment for their eye condition from an optometrist,” Lawson said.
Arcade closings: The Florida Arcade Association estimates that 150 adult arcades across the state have voluntarily closed their doors since Gov. Rick Scott signed a law last week intended to close all strip-center gaming parlors. “We’ve shut down until we can get somebody to clarify what we’re doing,” said Association president Gale Fontaine.
The association, which claims its businesses are different than the Internet cafes and other businesses that were targeted by the legislation, is backing a lawsuit filed on Thursday that seeks to block the law. Boardwalk Brothers, Inc., which operates an arcade in Tamarac, and Play It Again, LLC, which has a business in Davie, claim the law Scott signed April 10 that only allows coin-operated machines “is vague, arbitrary and not rationally related to any legitimate governmental purpose.”
The law was shepherded quickly through the Legislature after an multi-state and federal investigation led to raids in March at Internet cafes across Florida and the arrests of 57 people.
Bogus stops: A former South Florida police officer has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for stopping female drivers on a pretense so he could have suggestive conversations with them. A Miami federal judge imposed the sentence on 34-year-old Prabhainjana Dwivedi, a former Miami-Dade County police officer. Dwivedi was convicted in February of six charges of depriving victims of their civil rights.
Court records show Dwivedi was involved in at least six questionable traffic stops of female drivers. In one example, he detained a woman for more than an hour and asked her to lower the zipper on her dress to her mid-stomach. Dwivedi asked another woman if he could see her breast enhancement surgery scars. The Miami Herald reports that prosecutors sought a three-year sentence.
Rara avis: In a desperate bid to save a nearly extinct species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is launching a captive breeding program for Florida’s grasshopper sparrow. The Tampa Bay Times reports that if officials do nothing, experts predict the sparrow will go extinct in three to five years, just like its cousin, the dusky seaside sparrow.
The dusky disappeared in 1987 when the last survivor died at Disney World. If the Florida grasshopper sparrow vanishes, it would be the first bird species to go extinct in the United States since the dusky sparrow.
Biologists estimate that fewer than 200 of the tiny birds remain. Biologists will look for eggs and take them to Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee, to be placed in incubators.
Post staff and wire services.