Sen. Mike Bennett filed a bill last week that would continue his long-running quest to give more drug-prescribing powers to optometrists, reports the News Service of Florida. The Bradenton Republican also added a sweetener — medical-malpractice protections for hospitals and emergency room workers — that is aimed at defusing physician opposition to the bill. Groups such as the Florida Medical Association have traditionally opposed allowing optometrists to go beyond prescribing “topical” medications. That opposition, at least in part, has led to the death of such bills in the past. But Bennett’s 2012 version of the bill (SB 718) also includes changes that would make it harder to win medical-malpractice lawsuits against hospitals and emergency-room physicians and other workers. The bill would increase the burden of proof for injured patients in such lawsuits.