Optometrists and ophthalmologists ante up $$$ for legislative leaders

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Amid a long-running lobbying fight about drug-prescribing powers, optometrists and ophthalmologists are funneling campaign money to legislative leaders, reports the News Service of Florida.

Optometrists in recent days sent $25,000 to a political committee headed by incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford bringing the industry’s overall contributions to the committee to $125,000, according to information dated Thursday on the committee’s website. The Florida Optometric CCE, which is affiliated with the Florida Optometric Association, has made five $25,000 payments to Weatherford’s Committee for a Conservative House since September 2011, committee and state records show.

Optometrists have lobbied in recent years to try to get broader drug-prescribing authority, though they have faced opposition from ophthalmologists.

Meanwhile, a committee headed by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, reported on its website this week that it received $10,000 from a FOCUS CCE, which is affiliated with the Florida Society of Ophthalmology. Negron’s Florida Conservative Action Committee also received $25,000 in July from the ophthalmologists’ group, according to state and committee records. Negron has served the past two years as chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee and is trying to line up support to become Senate president in 2016.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.