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Effort to Recall Calif. Vax Bill Author Fizzles

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) - An effort to recall a California lawmaker who pushed for mandatory child vaccinations is over, after opponents of the legislator's immunization law failed to turn in signatures by a Dec. 31 deadline.

According to county officials, critics of Senate Bill 277 failed to turn in a single signature in state Sen. Richard Pan's. The effort to recall the Sacramento Democrat needed to clear more than 35,000 signatures in order to advance the petition to voters in Sacramento and Yolo Counties.

The announcement of the recall campaign's failure comes three months after a referendum effort against SB 277, led by former assemblyman and right-wing talk show host Tim Donnelly, also failed to collect enough signatures to send the contentious immunization bill to voters.

Opponents of the bill criticized Pan, a pediatrician, and accused him of co-authoring the bill solely on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. Pan received death threats and security was beefed up during SB 277 hearings at the state Capitol.

Pan introduced the bill last winter in response to a measles outbreak that sparked in Disneyland and infected 131 Californians.

The immunization bill eventually hurdled through four committees and eight total votes before being signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this past June. The bill, which introduced some of the strictest child immunization laws in the nation, mandates full vaccinations of 10 diseases including measles and whooping cough.

Under SB 277, parents who send their children to public schools cannot opt out of state-mandated vaccinations without a medical exemption from their child's doctor.

Brown said the bill "occasioned widespread interest and controversy" from opponents and supporters in 2015 and that both sides expressed their positions with "eloquence and sincerity."

Leaders of the recall effort filed last July did not respond to email requests for comment Monday.

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