Opposition to bill curbing personal exemptions mischaracterized
In 2015, the California Legislature passed and then Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill revoking a parent’s ability to exempt their children from the measles vaccine. Beginning in 2016, a vaccine exemption required a doctor’s justification.
This year, with measles spreading rapidly again, Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, introduced new legislation limiting physicians’ unilaterally power.
Senate Bill 276 passed the state Senate last week, but not without opposition again from parents opposed to vaccinating their children.
This bill requires the state Department of Public Health to oversee the physician exemption and determine that it meets criteria promulgated by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
The bill passed 24-10, totally along party lines.
One of the Republican senators objecting to this bill is Sen. Jeff Stone, R-28, who supported and was co-author of Pan’s 2015 legislation.
However, some local and state media have mischaracterized his opposition. Stone stated several times during his floor statement that he supports and agrees with Pan’s goal.
But he does not want to empower the DPH with approving physician decisions. Rather, Stone prefers that the state Medical Board review physician actions and if they are wrong or dangerous, the Medical Board can suspend or even revoke the doctor’s license.
Some publications used a portion of Stone’s statement and described him as “denouncing the bill” “when he said, SB 276 is “… an unprecedented and a dangerous intrusion, not only into the doctor-patient relationship but also the personal liberties of the parents and their children.”
While he said those words, he also stated he supported what Pan was trying to achieve. He just doesn’t believe SB 276 does it fairly or appropriately and leaves too much power to an entity not part of the situation.