California senate committee passes bill to deny education to unvaccinated children

California senate committee passes bill to deny education to unvaccinated children

Thursday, April 23, 2015 by: J. D. Heyes

A measure to ban parental choice over the vaccination of children in the state of California survived a key vote in the Senate on April 22 and will now advance to the full chamber for consideration.

As reported by The Sacramento Bee, the measure was passed on a second vote by a committee that, just a week ago, looked as though it might reject it.

“Amendments giving non-vaccinated children more educational options beyond traditional schooling generated enough support to push Senate Bill 277 out of the Senate Education Committee on a 7-2 vote,” the paper reported. This is after supporters of the measure first approved a version that would restrict unvaccinated kids to private schools and single-family home schools.

Now, the measure will head to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next step of what could become a potentially long journey through several additional committees. It must also survive a number of floor votes, both in that chamber and in the state assembly. The SacBee noted that every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee has either voted for the measure or is a co-sponsor; both chambers in the California legislature, along with the governorship, are controlled by Democrats and have been for years.

The SacBee noted that lawmakers will be forced to confront the issues of public safety and parental rights — both of them being important topics for advocates of vaccine choice: public safety due to the potential for vaccine injury, and parental rights, which speaks for itself.

Balancing public safety and parental choice? That would be vaccine pro-choicers

Some lawmakers fear the measure won’t pass without some exemptions for religious beliefs — which vaccine authoritarians want to take away. A number of lawmakers hinted that such changes are likely going to be necessary if any final measure is to make it to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk and earn his signature.

Indeed, even the Senate Committee was likely to vote against the bill until President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon intervened. According to a California Coalition for Health Choice, whose members attended the Senate panel’s deliberations, Senator de Leon”reconfigured the Senate Education Committee to stack [the] deck in favor of passing” the measure.

The organization further noted:

De Leon filled a position on the committee which has been vacant for months with Senator Bill Monning, who already voted for the bill in Health committee. Adding one vote in favor of the bill wasn’t enough. He also removed the Vice Chair of the committee, Senator Huff, an ardent opponent of the bill, and replaced him with Senator Runner. It is unknown what her position is on the bill. Neither of the newly appointed senators heard any of the nearly three hour hearing on this measure last week.

So much for transparency

“That bill should have died in committee last Wednesday. Instead of taking a vote and letting it die, the bill gets postponed for a week so the author can work on amendments. It’s currently scheduled as a ‘vote only item’ [April 22]. That means no one in opposition will get to testify on whatever amendments the author proposes. How is that good government,” said Sylvia Pimentel, state director of the Canary Party and member of the coalition.

“This is yet another example of the lack of transparency and accountability in government. It should not be allowed,” Pimentel added.

Also interesting regarding this particular vote, as reported by the SacBee — no public testimony was allowed this time around. That’s probably because opponents of the measure have routinely — and massively — outnumbered proponents. According to the paper:

This time no public testimony was allowed, though red-clad opponents still filled the hearing room. In numbers and vociferousness they have easily eclipsed proponents at hearings, though unvaccinated children account for a small minority of California youth.

The senators who voted for and support the measure are listed below with contact information so you can get in touch with them and voice your concern:

Sen. Kevin De Leon (Senate President Pro Tempore): State Capitol, Room 205, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4024
Sen. Carol Liu: State Capitol, Room 5097, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4025
Sen. Bill Monning: State Capitol, Room 313, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4017
Sen. (Dr.) Richard Pan: State Capitol, Room 4070, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4006
Sen. Marty Block: State Capitol, Room 4072, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4039
Sen. Loni Hancock: State Capitol, Room 2082, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4009
Sen. Andy Vidak: State Capitol, Room 3082, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4014
Sen. Tony Mendoza: State Capitol, Room 5061, Sacramento, CA 95814-4900; (916) 651-4032

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