A bill requiring California children to be vaccinated before they enter school passed a key Senate committee Wednesday, while over 100 parents protested that it would deprive many young people of a public education.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The measure cleared the Senate Education Committee on a bipartisan 7-2 vote after its authors agreed to changes that would make it easier for parents to home-school their children if they decided against immunization.
The bill goes next to the Senate Judiciary Committee, a seven-member panel that includes five lawmakers who have voted for or are co-authors of the bill. The proposal must also pass the Appropriations Committee before it can reach the Senate floor and, if it passes there, transfer to the Assembly.
The legislation, by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, would eliminate parents’ option to exempt their children from state-required vaccinations on grounds of personal belief.
Now, the only exception will be for medical exemptions.
“While this bill won’t reach everyone, it will increase everyone’s safety against preventable diseases,” Allen told the education committee Wednesday. “We think we’ve struck a fair balance here that provides more options to parents who are concerned about not vaccinating their children.”
According to the Times, over 100 opponents of the bill, many wearing red shirts, packed the committee hearing room.
“I am shocked and disappointed,” said Tina Kimmel, who claimed to be a former research scientist with the state Department of Public Health.
Last week, many parents and children testified against the proposal, saying that they didn’t believe vaccines were safe and that they were worried the bill would deprive young people of the right to an education. Committee members including Chairwoman Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) had voiced similar concerns.