SACRAMENTO – A California Assembly committee Tuesday routed a bill necessitating vaccinations for public school children toward a final vote and predicted passage, after a five-hour hearing packed with reactions from vaccine adversaries.
After listening to lawmakers, witnesses and the audience, the Assembly Health Committee voted 12-6 along party lines to distribute the immunization bill to the floor.
Senate Bill 277 will encounter a final vote in the Assembly prior to in all likelihood acceptance from Gov. Jerry Brown.
“It is time to act,” stated Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, co-author of the bill. “This should not be a partisan issue. We should look at the facts. We should look at the science.”
Republican lawmakers belittled Pan’s bill as infringing on parents’ civil liberties and boosting the government’s access into their homes. While presenting his bill to the committee, Pan forwarded to his opponents’ fears.
“SB 277 is about freedom: freedom from deadly, crippling contagions that are now preventable through the science of vaccination,” Pan stated after an episode from the masses.
Rep. Arie Waldron, R-Escondido, stated she voted in opposition to the bill because of the “loss of freedom” it required, and its possibilities to reject children their right to education.
Hundreds of opponents, in what has become a pattern before SB 277 hearings, populated the steps of the Capitol with signs, while chanting: “Moms call the shots!”
Tuesday’s rally showcased several speakers, as well as a Republican lawmaker who likened the bill to interment and concentration camps.
“I wouldn’t call it a concentration camp,” Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, told the crowd he addressed. “But they’re suggesting [children] go some place other than public school.”
Patterson, who sat on the committee and voted against the bill, acknowledged in a tweet after the rally that he selected his words improperly.
Lori Gregory, editor of the Mom Street Journal, explained to the crowd that no matter of the committee’s determination, the opponents of SB 277 were successful in uniting and reaching lawmakers.
“How many families are going to be led to slaughter trying to do the right thing because of your ignorance and greed?” Gregory inquired, motioning behind her to lawmakers in the Capitol.
“You do not own the truth. We know who you are because we put you in office to work for all of us.”
In the course of the hearing Pan specified data on the safety of vaccines and the lack of scientific proof connecting immunizations to autism.
The committee vote fell in line with a current Public Policy Institute of California poll that found 67 % of California adults feel unvaccinated children should not be present at public school, and that 87 % stated vaccines are “at least somewhat safe.”
The bill’s authors approved 5 amendments, which include modifications that will permit doctors to take into account family medical history when choosing whether to issue parents a medical exemption.
Democrats congratulated Pan and Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, for agreeing to modifications to the bill that has trudged through multiple committee hearings.
“I do think this bill will leave this committee stronger, as a stronger policy statement now that it does provide extra protection for families,” stated Rep. Susan Bonilla, D-Concord.
The bill, which will eliminate personal-belief exemptions for parents, has been through 4 state Senate and Assembly committees. If SB 277 passed in the Assembly and signed by Brown, California will join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states with no religious or personal-belief exemptions for parents of unvaccinated public school children.