The California Assembly is fast tracking SB 277, a bill to eliminate all non-medical vaccine exemptions for religious and conscientious beliefs from the mandatory vaccination law governing school attendance. Although there were public hearings in the Health, Education and Judiciary committees in the state Senate, the bill has only been referred to the Health Committee and a hearing could be scheduled as early as the beginning of next week (June 8-12, 2015.)
With no scheduled public hearings in the Education or Appropriations committees, SB 277 will not be reviewed in the Assembly for civil rights violations and financial impact. It looks like the skids are being greased by pharmaceutical, medical trade and government lobbyists pressuring legislators to bring the bill to a fast floor vote and send it to Governor Brown for his signature.
California Parents - This May Be Your Last Chance to Act
If you live in California and are the parent of a child who attends daycare, public or private school, you may only have one more week left to contact your Assembly member and tell the person you elected to represent you what you think about SB 277.
Download a handout here that lists five good reasons why SB 277 should not become law. Give it to your Assembly member so he or she understands why:
· SB 277 is not based on scientific evidence or compelling state interest;
· SB 277 is a violation of parental and human rights;
· SB 277 requires children to risk vaccine injury, while vaccine manufacturers and doctors administering vaccines are shielded from vaccine injury liability;
· SB 277 discriminates against children to deny them a school-based education guaranteed by the California Constitution; and
· SB 277 will be excessively expensive to administer and enforce.
You can track SB277 and immediately contact your Assembly member on your cell phone, tablet or computer by becoming a user of the free NVIC Advocacy Portal.
If the bill is voted out of the Assembly Health Committee and then quickly approved by the full Assembly and signed by the Governor, your only options will be to (1) find a doctor to write an almost impossible-to-get medical vaccine exemptionfor your child or (2) homeschool or enroll your child in an independent study program.
There is No Public Health Emergency in California
Unvaccinated school aged children with religious and conscientious belief exemptions are not causing measles and whooping cough outbreaks in California. Out of 136 measles cases reported in the state in 2015, only 18 percent were in school-aged children while 55% were in adults and 30 percent of all cases with vaccine records had been vaccinated. In 2014, out of 8,200 pediatric pertussis cases with vaccination records reported in California, 90 percent had been vaccinated.
The 2015 California measles outbreak associated with Disneyland only affected 0.00035% of the state’s population and was successfully contained without eliminating non-medical vaccine exemptions.
Special Needs Children Being Discriminated Against
Many parents testified in California Senate public hearings that they have vaccine-injured children or have children with brain and immune system problems that could make them especially susceptible to vaccine harm but are unable to find a doctor willing to write a medical vaccine exemption. Those parents depend upon the personal belief vaccine exemption for their special needs children to be educated in public and private schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Free Appropriate Public Education Act (FAPE).
If SB 277 becomes law, parents will be sanctioned for making informed medical decisions for their children. In addition, if the state refuses to provide costly home-based education to those with special needs when their parents are unable to educate them at home, then those children will be discriminated against and deprived of their civil right to an education.
Potential Criminal Prosecution and Prison Time for Non-Complying Parents
The bill’s primary sponsors, pediatrician Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) have not publicly explained what will happen if parents refuse to give their school aged child every federally recommended vaccine required by state health officials now or in the future under SB 277. However, if non-complying parents cannot provide their child with a home-based education for financial or other reasons and the children are barred from attending school, truancy laws in California and other states can and do subject parents to costly criminal prosecution and imprisonment.
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