Calif. Vaccine Law Opponents Fall Short on Effort To Recall Sen. Pan
Opponents of a contentious state law (SB 277) ending personal belief exemptions to California's childhood vaccination requirements failed to collect signatures to force a recall election of the bill's author, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 1/4).
Background on Law
In late June 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed SB 277, by state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), which only allows children who have received vaccinations for certain diseases -- such as measles and whooping cough -- to be admitted to schools in the state.
The law allows exemptions for medical reasons. In addition, the measure was amended to:
- Allow unvaccinated children to enroll in private home-schooling programs that serve multiple families, rather than programs that serve just one family;
- Permit such children to participate in independent study projects that are overseen by school districts but do not include classroom time;
- Remove a provision that would have required schools to inform parents of immunization rates; and
- Allow physicians to consider family histories when determining medical exemptions.
The law is slated to go into effect on July 1.
Immediately following the law's passage, opponents started taking action against the legislation
Details of Recall Effort
In July 2015, the California secretary of state permitted advocates to launch their recall campaign. Opponents had until Dec. 31, 2015, to obtain 35,926 signatures from among 436,318 registered voters in Pan's district for the recall to proceed to the ballot (California Healthline, 7/29/15).
According to "Capitol Alert," opponents failed to submit any signatures from voters in Sacramento and Yolo counties, which are part of Pan's district.
Janine Kloss, an organizer for the campaign, said an earlier referendum effort seeking to overturn the law -- which failed -- took time and resources away from the recall effort.
She said, "By the time we were done with the referendum, we only had about three months left to pursue the recall," adding, "The referendum interfered with that (recall) timeline."
Meanwhile, a campaign to support Pan collected tens of thousands of dollars.
In a statement, Pan said the defeat of the campaign is a "victory of science over the politics of fear and intimidation."
He also criticized "anti-vaccination zealots" who "used fear, intimidation and discredited information to try to defeat our bill" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 1/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.