In a Wednesday afternoon hearing of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, Senator Clarence Lam (District 12 – Baltimore and Howard Counties) detailed his proposed legislation (Senate Bill 915) that would establish the Vision for Maryland Program to provide free vision services to Maryland public school students. The program would require the cooperation of local boards of education, local health departments, and Johns Hopkins University to facilitate the required services.
Under Lam’s proposal, eye examinations and eye glasses would be provided to public school students who fail required vision screenings and do not receive recommended services. A model of the current Vision for Baltimore program, the legislation attempts to locate children missed by current screening programs and aims to close the loop for needed follow-up services.
“This bill is to help insure students receive vision services,” said Senator Lam. In a recent interview with the Capital News Services, he elaborated: “The bill ensures students in the state who otherwise could not see the blackboard have access to success.”
Joining Senator Lam in sponsorship of his legislation is Senate Executive Nominations Committee Chairman Ron Young (District 3 – Frederick County). The legislation is identically cross-filed in the House of Delegates with House Bill 1242 and is sponsored by Lam’s district-mate Delegate Terri Hill (District 12 – Baltimore and Howard Counties). Interestingly, in addition to their roles as legislators, both Lam and Hill are also medical doctors.
House Bill 1242 was heard before the House Ways and Means Committee on March 7th and awaits a vote of that committee. Having now also been heard in its committee of origin, Senate Bill 915 similarly awaits a vote of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. All legislation must successfully pass both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates by Sine Die on Monday, April 8th to be sent to Governor Hogan to be approved or vetoed.