Talk Show Host Takes Aim at Vaccination Bill

SACRAMENTO (CN) – A right-wing radio talk show host on Wednesday submitted paperwork for a referendum he hopes will overturn the California law requiring children to be vaccinated to attend public school.
     Former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly wants to collect signatures to put a referendum on State Bill 277 on the November ballot. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill Tuesday.
     “California enjoys one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, and until recently respected the right of individuals for personal or religious reasons to opt out of some or all vaccinations,” Donnelly said in a statement. “When Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 277, he deprived every Californian of that choice should they wish to send their children to a private or public school.”
     Donnelly sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2014 but lost to the more moderate Neel Kashkari. Brown, a Democrat, won the election in a landslide and is serving his fourth term as governor.
     Donnelly will have three months to collect at least 365,880 signatures to try to qualify the referendum for the ballot.
     Donnelly, a founder of the Minuteman project in California, which claims to protect the United States from Mexican immigrants by patrolling the border, now hosts a radio show, advertised as “Broadcasting from deep behind enemy lines in the occupied territory of the socialist republic of California.”
     Before SB 277 was signed into law by Brown , Donnelly was adamant in his opposition to it.
     “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.
     As the vaccination bill proceeded through hearings and committee votes, thousands of parents rallied against it. State Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, introduced the bill in February. It hurdled through four committees and eight Senate and Assembly votes and will take effect in July 2016.
     Pan on Wednesday reiterated the strong support for his bill.
     “Our bill was a reasonable, science-based approach to protecting children, and the most vulnerable among us, from dangerous diseases,” he said. “I have spent my career campaigning to build healthier and safe communities and I will continue that work by fighting any referendum that hurts Californians.” Pan, a pediatrician, has degrees from Harvard, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pittsburgh.
     A recent survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California showed that 67 percent of Californians feel children should not be allowed to attend public school unless they are vaccinated, and 57 percent think vaccines are very safe for children.

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