Vaccine Law Opponents Fall Short on Signatures for Repeal Effort
Opponents of a new law (SB 277) ending all personal belief exemptions to California's childhood vaccination requirements have failed to collect enough signatures to qualify a petition to repeal the law for the 2016 ballot, according to a preliminary count, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
Monday was the deadline for turning in signatures (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/30).
SB 277, by state Sens. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach), 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 legislation 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 also includes a provision that would give unvaccinated children with existing exemptions more time to comply with the rule.
The law will go into effect on July 1, 2016.
In September, opponents of the law filed a petition to repeal the law (California Healthline, 9/29).
The group needed 365,880 signatures to qualify the ballot initiative. However a preliminary count showed that opponents collected about 228,000 signatures (McGreevy, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 9/30).
According to "Capitol Alert," counties have until next Thursday to send their estimates to the state ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/30). Election officials have 30 days to count the signatures and check a random sample for authenticity (California Healthline, 9/29).
Former Assembly member and gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), who led the referendum initiative, in a statement Monday praised volunteers' efforts, adding that the campaign "was sabotaged from without and within by powerful forces from its very inception" ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/30).
Meanwhile, Pan said, "The people of California know that vaccines work, and most Californians support requiring vaccination for children to attend public school," adding, "The misguided effort to repeal SB 277, my law to boost vaccination rates, appears to have fallen short. That would be good news for public health and particularly California's children" ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 9/30).
Further, California Academy of Family Physicians President Jay Lee in a statement said, "Science conclusively shows that vaccines are safe and effective and are essential to protect public health." He added, "Leaders of [CAFP] are pleased that medical evidence and proven science are guiding California vaccine policy as SB 277" (CAFP release, 9/30).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.