Vaccination Bill Sent to California Governor

SACRAMENTO (CN) – California gave final approval Monday to a vaccination bill removing personal-belief exemptions from parents who send their children to public schools, and sent the bill to Gov. Jerry Brown.
     After months of hearings and public debate, the immunization bill, sparked by a measles outbreak at Disneyland in December 2014, passed on final vote 24-14 in the Senate.
     Brown has until July 13 to act on SB 277 , which would introduce some of the most strict child immunization laws in the country, joining West Virginia and Mississippi as states without religious or personal belief exemptions for parents.
     Under SB 277, parents would be forced to remove their children from public schools if they do not receive the full vaccinations mandated by the state.
     Ten diseases are on the immunization list, including measles and whooping cough.
     The bill’s co-author, Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, testified that the bill was amended to meet education concerns and that vaccinations are crucial to preventing more disease outbreaks.
     “The science remains unequivocal that vaccines are safe and vaccines save lives,” Pan said. He is a pediatrician.
     The bill passed through four committees and eight votes.
     Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, has declined to comment on SB 277 but has advocated the benefits of vaccines in the past. In 2012, Brown signed AB 2109, a similar vaccination law also written by Pan.
     Some parents and lawmakers have denounced the bill as government overreach and infringement upon parental rights. In a recurring scene before each hearing, parents rallied against the bill while packing the Capitol’s halls and hearing rooms dressed in red.
     Hearings and readings of SB 277 have been lengthy, with several going longer than four hours. Lawmakers have remarked at the passion the bill has ignited and the amount of attention it has received.
     “When was the last time you saw so many different people from so many walks of life across political persuasions that came to this Capitol to protest?” Rep. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, asked before an Assembly vote . “We have awoken a sleeping giant.”

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