Effort to Recall CA Vaccine|Bill Author Gains Steam

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Opponents attempting to repeal a newly signed child vaccination law have taken aim at the bill’s author, winning approval to collect signatures to recall state Sen. Richard Pan.
     Pan, a pediatrician, co-authored Senate Bill 277 which was signed into law last month by Gov. Jerry Brown.
     The law is now the target of a group called “California SB277 Recalls,” which is registered with the state as a political committee and has until December to collect 35,000 signatures in Pan’s Sacramento district to advance a recall petition to voters.
     On its website, the group says California’s parents and children are “up against big-money pharmaceutical companies, medical associations, doctors and politicians with seemingly endless amounts of campaign cash from special-interest donors.”
     Under California law, an officeholder facing a qualified recall is not subject to contribution limits and can create a separate committee to oppose the recall. During his Senate campaign in 2014, Pan received $95,000 from pharmaceutical lobbies – the most of any 2014 candidate.
     “We can no longer afford to let our elected officials cater to a revolving door of special interest groups instead of the rights of the people who have elected them,” the group said in a statement. “Politics in California, and the country, need change. We are starting with [Pan’s] District 6.”
     Aside from Pan, the group is targeting other lawmakers who voted yes on the divisive vaccination bill, according to a chart on its website.
     Opponents of the bill filled the state Capitol at each committee hearing and vote, prompting extra security and extended legislative hearings. They also threatened to home-school their children, and some warned they would take their businesses out of California if the bill was passed.
     The bill mandating vaccinations for school children and removing personal-belief exemptions was eventually passed and signed by Brown on June 30. Afterward, Pan acknowledged the rumored recall effort, saying he wasn’t “concerned.”
     Pan, who is on summer recess with the rest of the state Legislature, could not be reached for comment.
     Recall petitions are filed every year but are rarely successful in California.
     The last officeholder to face a recall vote was then-state Sen. Jeff Denham, in 2007. Denham successfully opposed the recall with 75 percent voting against it.
     The last officeholder to be recalled from office was Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, who was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
     A referendum against the vaccination bill is being led by right-wing radio talk show host and former state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.
     “This referendum is not about vaccinations; it is about defending the fundamental freedom of a parent to make an informed decisions for their children without being unduly penalized by a government that believes it knows best,” Donnelly said earlier this month.