Gov. Jerry Brown has imposed strict vaccination rules on school children beginning next year.
Senate Bill 277, which revokes the vaccination exemption based on personal belief, was approved by the State Assembly with amendments Friday, June 26. On Monday, June 29, the State Senate approved the bill (25-11) with those amendments.
While vociferous and contentious debate has swirled around the Capitol Building during the Legislature’s committee meetings and floor votes, Gov. Brown signed the bill Tuesday. One reason he signed it was “for the exemption of children with a family medical history for which the physician does not recommend immunization,” according to his letter that accompanied his signing of the bill.
The bill’s sponsors, Dr. Richard Pann and Sen. Ben Allen, introduced it after the measles outbreak this winter, which originated in Disneyland. Many who became infected with measles, had no vaccine history.
Medical exemptions for children with serious health issues remained in the final bill. Mississippi and West Virginia have similar strict requirements for vaccinations from these diseases.
The Assembly amendments prohibit a pupil enrolled in an independent study program from receiving classroom-based instruction in order to qualify for the exemption. But the amendments allow a pupil who, prior to January 1, 2016, has a letter on file stating beliefs opposed to immunization, to remain enrolled until the pupil enrolls in the next grade span without having to satisfy the immunization requirements.
The bill will prohibit, as of July 1, 2016, unconditional admission of a pupil to an institution for the first time, or advancement to the 7th grade level, unless the immunization requirements have been satisfied.
When the Senate passed its original version of the bill, St. Sen. Jeff Stone voted for it and again for the final bill.