Tough vaccination bill expected to pass California Legislature – Los Angeles Times
The California Legislature on Monday is expected to pass a bill requiring mandatory vaccinations for children, moving to end exemptions from state immunization laws based on religious or other personal beliefs.
The measure, which would be one of the toughest vaccination laws in the nation, would require more children who enter school, or day care, to be vaccinated against diseases including measles and whooping cough.
The bill was introduced because of concern about low vaccination rates in some communities and an outbreak of measles at Disneyland that ultimately infected more than 150 people.
Those with medical conditions such as allergies and immune-system deficiencies, confirmed by a physician, would be excused from immunization. And parents could still decline to vaccinate children who attend private home-based schools or public independent studies off campus.
The state Senate approved the bill earlier this month, but must concur with minor amendments to the legislation approved by the state Assembly on Thursday. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill early Monday afternoon.
If approved by the Senate, the bill would then go to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.
The governorâ€™s spokesman, Evan Westrup, last week said Brown believes that vaccinations are a major health benefit, but would only go as far as to say that the bill will be â€œclosely considered.â€
If the bill becomes law, California will be the 32nd state to deny exemptions grounded in personal or moral beliefs, but only the third to bar exceptions based on religious convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The bill has been one of the most controversial measures taken up by the Legislature this year, attracting large, vocal crowds of parents during a series of legislative hearings on the measure. They opposed the bill in the belief that vaccines are unsafe, that the proposal would violate their privacy rights and that they alone — not the state — should choose whether to vaccinate their children.
Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), a pediatrician and an author of the bill, has received death threats. And opponents of the proposal have filed papers with the state to initiate the process of recalling Pan and Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), a vocal supporter, from office.
The bill, SB 277 by Pan and Democrat Benjamin Allen of Santa Monica, passed the Assembly on Thursday on a bipartisan 46-31 vote.
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